Potato Day in Mold 2017

Seed and Potato Day Saturday 11 February 2017, 9am to 1pm

Helen Bravey's spoilt for choice

For the very best choice of seed potatoes locally, there is nothing to match the annual Potato Day in Mold. Where else can you see over 80 different varieties of seed potatoes all laid out so that you can look at them, read the key facts about each type, talk to the experts and, importantly, buy as large or as small a quantity as you require?

The event this year is being jointly organised by Plant Heritage, North Wales, and local community growing group FlintShare, with Matthew Smith from the Brighter Blooms nursery in Preston providing the seed potatoes. The Potato Day is on Saturday 11 February at St Mary’s Hall, King Street, Mold CH7 1LA from 9am to 1pm. It’s an event to put in your diary if you like to grow your own produce or want to give it a try this year.

As well as seed potatoes there will also be onion sets, garlic, vegetable seed and plants, herbs, soft fruit and fruit trees for sale. If you’d like to find out more about community food growing, FlintShare will have an information stall. Admission to the event is free.

Seed potatoes are big business in Britain with between 250,000 and 300,000 bulk tonnes traded here annually, for both the home and export markets. At the Mold event the potatoes can be bought in small quantities of 1kg nets, so if you’d like to try more than one variety to see which you like the taste of, now’s your chance. The potatoes will be laid out in crates on tables in the hall and will be split up into first earlies, second earlies and main crop varieties to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. There is usually a selection of organically grown potato varieties as well. All the varieties have a description label and a picture on them to help you decide which ones to grow this year.

Traditionally potatoes are grown in trenches, but they are quite versatile and can be grown in black bins or tough woven polythene planters measuring around 45cm high x 35cm wide. Potatoes are planted in March/April after the risk of frost has passed and early varieties are ready 9 to 12 weeks from planting, whilst main crops take 14 weeks or more to mature.

There are over a thousand types of potatoes worldwide and it is the fourth largest food crop on earth after rice, wheat and maize with nearly a third of the world’s potatoes grown and harvested in China and India. But potatoes come with a high carbon footprint, particularly in very wet years due to disease. When late blight, Phytophthora infestans, hits, crops have to be sprayed 15 times or more. This is expensive and unsustainable. Commercial potato growing uses carbon at all stages – tractor fuel for cultivation, spray application and harvesting and cooled storage of ware and seed. In addition, conventional growers use synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers and to control weeds, pests and disease. By growing our own potatoes we significantly reduce that carbon footprint and get a crop of delicious fresh potatoes to enjoy.

If you want to find out more about potato varieties, how to cook them and their nutritional value there is lots of information on the web site: www.lovepotatoes.co.uk

For further details of the Potato Day in Mold please phone 07940 227742, or for the Brighter Blooms catalogue and potato price list visit www.brighterblooms.co.uk

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