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My three favourite potato varieties

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That is hard. Almost unreasonable. Now I have to decide. It was not easy to put together an assortment of nine special potato varieties, but now I have to decide on just three favourites for our garden letter and our garden book. Heart-breaking! Which type of potato should I not mention? Of course, all of the varieties that you find in the supermarket (at least almost all). Not that they are bad, but they are there anyway...there is no reason to now grow them in your garden. But deciding on only three of my nine varieties is really hard.

I am getting courageous now – and of course it helps tremendously that the editorial deadline of our garden letter is approaching (actually it’s already over) and I already feel the disapproving glances of our editor Nadja (even if she is sitting at her desk 888 km away in Switzerland and I am at our Ammerland nursery...).

So, here it is: No. 1 Sarpo Axona - the resistant, unbeatable variety

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Picture: Sarpo Una – the aromatic potato with the short cultivation period, in a Speedpot

Last September, when I visited the experimental fields of the Sarpo Trust with David Shaw, who released this variety, I was amazed. In general, on the way to North Wales, I wondered several times how, for God's sake, potatoes could grow on a pile of stones...and now, at the experimental station, we walked along the dirt road, stones to the right and stones to the left, then another special feature – an unmonitored railroad crossing, whose barriers we were allowed to remove ourselves, and finally there was – after the railway line to the right – a field, a potato field. All of the leafy parts were dead, except for individual, green islands in the brownish grey sea of dead leaves, which had fallen victim to late blight already in mid-summer.
Of course, I immediately asked about the lush, green islands, which could be seen in different places. David's answer came with a proud smile: Axona! Sarpo Axona is currently probably the most resistant potato variety, which has so far withstood all attacks of the potato disease Phytophthora, also known as "late blight". In addition, Axona is an extremely vigorous potato variety, which continues to grow more and more foliage and is able to suppress weeds. Especially with a late harvest, which is not a problem with such healthy foliage, huge amounts of the finest potatoes without the slightest disease problems can be harvested.

No. 2 Sarpo Una – the early potato for pots

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Picture: Sarpo Una – the aromatic potato with the short cultivation period, in a Speedpot

The triumph of the potato, first with the Incas and then with some 100 years delay in the western world, now most recently in Asia, is also related to the speed of the potato. It is simply unbeatable how quickly a potato plant establishes itself and starts producing new tubers, some of which can be harvested in less than two months. And yes, even potatoes are cooked and eaten quite fast; a fast food, long before this term was reinvented with the recent use of potatoes (chips!). Sarpo Una is the fastest among the fast-growing potatoes. It takes just 5-6 weeks to harvest when using a young Speedpot plant. This is an absolute record in speed. Incidentally, with this early variety several potato sets can easily be produced or after the harvest in June/July, simply add another potato generation to the pot or garden bed. This is also possible in the same soil that was already used for the potatoes in the spring/summer. Sarpo Kifli, which has a slightly longer cultivation period, is my second tip for growing in pots because of its simple cultivation and its intense freshness and potato flavour, which characterises this variety even in late summer/autumn.

No. 3 Red Emmalie

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Picture: Red Emmalie – the potato with red flesh

This red potato did it to me. Actually, as a Swiss man, I would have to clearly vote for the Blue St. Galler (ha, again I have managed to mention another super variety in addition to the trio list!), but I confess that while eating this red variety it has triumphed via my stomach and taste buds, although not my heart. It is firm, red through and through, it can be peeled well and quickly, and it almost disappears on the tongue. And I think – no, I'm sure – that I have felt sweetness on my tongue, a slight, fine sweetness and a hint of chestnut flavour. Sweet and a very beautiful red colour!!! Incidentally, I'm glad that this variety is no longer called Red Emma (after the breeder's grandmother) because then somehow I would always have to think about Alice Schwarzer and her Emma magazine, and that does not go well with sweet potatoes, though maybe the "red" part. But now I am wandering off the point: I just wanted to tell you about my three favourite potatoes. Axona, Una and Red Emmalie. And if you do not believe me, yes, then you will have to grow all nine varieties in order to find your own personal favourites...

 With our potatoes, your plate will be colourful!

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Picture: Red Emmalie before peeling

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Picture: Red Emmalie after peeling

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Picture: Red Emmalie and Blue St. Galler (left to right)

 

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