Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Just arriving back from a visit to Melbourne visiting family I was amazed at the many many different type of heirloom potatoes that one could buy down there in their equally impressive markets.One paticular  type that took my eye was the purple congo  and I would like to know if anyone has grown it amongst  the many others  available.Has anyone tried growing something different with good yields.taste etc .Being the great white hunter/grower that  I am, I would like to know of anyone elses experience with any of them that is a bit different.

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Comment by DARREN JAMES on June 27, 2015 at 18:24

Hi roger looking at them  photos it looks as though the purple congo,s were the stand out performer in terms of area.The soil mix is the trick ,I may even  experiment with some sebagos just seeded and plant some spuds 12 inches and let it grow without hilling as they always do seem to grow in the bottom reaches as you mentioned..Those sacks really are a neat idea my chook pellet bags always are handy this time of the year .I went to rocklea markets today and did get some purple congos and will checkout northey st tomorrow for any other different type not normally seen.A company from tassie does sell a good variety but they are terribly expensive even though they are certified seed potatoes.

Comment by Roger Clark on June 27, 2015 at 9:33

Oops I missed sending the 3 sacks picture. I've also included a picture of an experiment I did growing King Edward spuds. I grew these in a bath, then when the plants were getting tallish I made and positioned an extension box on top of the bath and filled up the box as the plants grew taller with horse manure. I hoped that the plants would grow more spuds up the plants as they pushed skyward. The only spuds I got were the ones formed under the soil as I had planted them. A very disappointing result.

Comment by Roger Clark on June 27, 2015 at 9:24

I found some photos of my 2014 harvest. The first picture is of I believe some Desiree grown in an old laundry tub. The next of some Purple Congo grown in an old sack, The next my harvest from 3 sacks, and the last is my harvest from an old bath - sebego.

Comment by Roger Clark on June 26, 2015 at 5:35
  • I have tried to grow a number of different types of spuds, with mixed success. Binte and King Edwards have not produced well, Kipfler and Desiree have been somewhat better, with Sebego standing out as the best performer. This probably because they are available a lot earlier than any of the others as seed potatoes. So they get a longer season in the cooler weather. I don't know why we can't get other varieties earlier. I have planted Sebego spuds again this year and they are growing very well. I have also tried the Purple Congo and they are very hardy, if a little small in size, I have some that have resprouted from last years crop, so it will be interesting to see how they produce. I've also tried a number of different experiments in growing them, but most have made no or little difference to crop size. I will still persevere with growing spuds, but I realise that the Southern states have a distinct advantage over us banana benders when growing spuds.
Comment by DARREN JAMES on June 25, 2015 at 14:05

Thanks for that Dave, what were the types they had at caboolture as I think I might just try my luck at the rocklea or northey st organic markets and just hope they will seed and dont have a virus attached  as I know they wont be certified seed 

Comment by Dave Riley on June 24, 2015 at 23:38

GH has some purple congo seed spuds available in July.They're on the Sunshine Coast and write of the PC:

Heirloom potato bred before 1895, easily the hardiest potato we have ever grown. It is a small cylindrical waxy potato with unusual purple-black, shiny skin and purple flesh.

If you are into that colour underground -- aside from Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes  (definitely my favorite) --  today I harvested some Purple Yams -Dioscorea alata - outback. This is a species native to tropical  Asia.

Not a bumper crop at all but it's exciting to realize I had actually planted that type of yam. I thought all I'd planted was the standard African Yam (Dioscorea rotundata and D. cayenensis) which I can get in massive supply from the African food shop in Caboolture. I'm not so keen on its texture.

I have about 5 types of standard potatoes in at the moment but I'm just new at the game: my second season-- after a great crop last year. My most giving produce these last 12 months.

I must say that it is really annoying how the seed spud suppliers usually only offer single types per kgm when we'd really like a mix and match option sometimes. I got seed spuds at the Caboolture Markets last Sunday at $8/kgm. But only 4 or 5 types on offer in separate purchases. Talking to my peeps there, they had so much trouble securing a supply line.

I'd like to purchase a dedicated heirloom mix per kgm  just so I could experiment.I recall that Diggers used to offer one to members but not this year it seems. But then TasPotatoes have a wide range of spuds on offer.

Also at the Cab Mkts -- an organic produce supplier -- Shane Gisford, from Gatton -- likes to talk about growing spuds.He will get some seed spuds in for you if you promise to turn up next time, but now the Woodford nursery folk have supplies it isn't necessary. But if you wanted advice have a chat with him...As for Lyle -- you could pose a question on the Green P facebook group. Green P just harvested Lyle's first crop of Sebago for the year...

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 24, 2015 at 22:00

I grew a few in 2009. See pix here. The short growing season we have doesn't give us a great crop relative to what is achieved down south. The guy from Green P is the exception. See Lissa's report.

This year I'm trying again, just planted a purple spud plant. Don't know its name, Joseph gave some to Lissa who gave some to me. This one is the survivor from 6 small spuds which started to shoot around December. I planted them in a small pot and this one continued on. It had a tiny spud when I planted it out a week ago. About to plant some King Edwards which are shooting.

Any spuds I get will be a bonus.

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