If you live a self sufficient life or aspire to, you will probably end up eating a lot of potatoes. No other vegetable (or grain for that matter) will provide you as many calories per unit area as the humble potato. Easy to grow and ideally suited to moist slightly acidic soils it definitely in my opinion is the top self sufficient crop for a temperate climate.

Just a 10 metre row gave all these potatoes.

Potatoes can be kept in storage once harvested and this is the key to their usefulness. They don’t require any special containers. Just a sack or box in a cool shed will do them and they should keep through the winter until the next batch of early potatoes are ready to lift.

Keeping potatoes in an old set of wooden drawers works well. So does a sack or cardboard box. They need to stay dark and cool but not where they might freeze. A shed or outbuilding is usually ideal.

They come in a huge range of varieties. Some crop early (conveniently called earlies) some are maincrop which are ready later but store better. Some varieties are good for frying, some are better for mashing and all have different levels of pest and disease resistance. It can be fun finding the varieties of potato that work best for you and your garden.

I grow an early variety most years such as ‘rocket’ and then experiment with a maincrop. So far ‘Golden Wonder’ is my favourite. It is a firm fleshed tuber great for making chips out of but it also can be mashed. It’s particularly good for my soil as it seems to resist the slugs which leave irritating holes in most other varieties I’ve tried. I also love homemade chips!

Did I say I love home made chips.