Sometimes a trendy vegetable comes along that everyone is talking about but often when you try it you are left a little bemused as to what all the fuss is about. This is not the case with Mayan Gold potatoes. These potatoes are a recent introduction bred from the Peruvian Phureja potatoes.
Mayan Gold have a golden, tasty flesh which makes the crunchiest and delicious chips and roasting potatoes I’ve ever tried. My only slight complaint about them is that the tubers, when grown here are a bit on the small side for roasties.
These are an early main crop potato, planted in April, harvested August to October and will store for several months.
In the kitchen
Great flavour. Floury potato designed for roasting or chips which will be golden and amazingly crunchy. If you want to precook before roasting it is better to steam rather boil as they do disintegrate quickly. You could mash them but again steam, rather than boil.
Yields and plant health
These do not generate a massive yield. Tuber size can be a bit erratic, most will be a duck egg sized.
Plants did die back fairly quickly but no sign of blight this year. Tubers have stored well for several months.
I grow every year as they make such great chips!
When your seed potatoes arrive, remove them from the packaging and lay eye side up in egg boxes or on paper in a light, cool but frost free place. This is called chitting.
In late march – early April dig a narrow trench about 10cm deep. To improve yield you can line with compost or well rotted manure but it will make the potatoes more prone to slugs. You can water in some nematodes if it is warm enough who will infect any nearby slugs and will offer some protection for 6 weeks. You can repeat by watering them in when earthing up but make sure you are watering the soil not the foliage.
Space the seed potatoes 40cm apart in rows 30cm apart. Cover the potatoes with the soil from the trench. When the halms appear above the surface you will need to cover them with earth if there is sign of a frost coming. When they are about 20cm high you will want to draw soil about 15cm up the stems in to a flat topped ridge. This will reduce the likelihood of getting green potatoes due to light exposure as these are toxic. You can also earth up with a mulch of compost or straw.
Potatoes will not need much watering except in the driest of weathers when you would want to water well once a week. As a rule more water will lead to larger, but also more watery potatoes.
You can buy specialist potato fertiliser but a sprinkling of organic bone meal dug lightly in to the soil is probably all they will need, especially if you have dug in compost or manure on planting or have earthed up with compost.
Pests and diseases
Slugs – You can reduce the slugs by using nematodes watered in to the soil before planting.
Scab – Causes rough scabby patches on the potato skin and the flesh underneath. It is unsightly and can affect storage potential. Any potatoes with scab should be used quickly.
Blight – Fungal infection that can devastate any potato crop that has no resistance. Leaves will show browning patches, which get more and more prolific, including on the stems until the entire plant is covered. The foliage of any potato showing signs of blight should be cut down to the stems and removed. The potatoes left in the ground for a week before being dug up. If not caught early, blight can infect tubers, which will rot in storage but some are more resistant that others. There is no non chemical cure but some varieties are resistant.