The Desiree potato breed is a very versatile potato specie and has several advantages. Firstly it can be used in several dishes and cooked in several ways except being used as a salad potato. It also doesn’t steam well, with the exception of steaming, it can be cooked with different methods i.e. boiling mashing roasting or using it to make chips.
Another beneficial factor of this potato specie is that it can be treated like a normal maincrop as far as harvest periods are concerned. You can also treat the Desiree potato as an early maincrop if there is a demand for it early in the season. Leaving them in the ground after the harvest date leads to larger potatoes.
The parent species of the Desiree potato are Urgenta and Depesche.
The Desiree potato originates from Holland and is mainly cultivated as a main crop potato. It can provide a harvest of huge potatoes when cultivated this way.
Although it can also be grown primarily as an early maincrop primarily because it grows early in the planting season, this means there’s a possibility for an earlier harvest. Due to this, the Desiree potato can be harvested two or three weeks before the regular harvest date and still come out with a respectable size.
There are a variety of ways to cook the Desiree potato as it lends itself to several dishes. Cooking the Desiree potato is an easy endeavour and when boiled it stays together and doesn’t break up which makes it easier to cook than most other potato species.
The Desiree potato was discovered by Italians in the early 70s and has greatly increased in popularity over the past decade. It is particularly popular in an Italian village called Colfiorito, where they hold an annual red potato festival.
The Desiree potato grows well in Wales and England but for an unknown reason doesn’t agree with Scottish soil. The Desiree potato grown in Scotland is known to be unusually watery and bland. The Desiree potato has a strong resistance to disease and eelworm is its only known vulnerability.
Advantages of the Desiree Potato
- When it comes to the various ways the Desiree potato can be cooked, it’s a difficult proposition to find a better potato specie. The Desiree potato can be boiled, baked, mashed, roasted or made into chips and tastes excellent when cooked with all these methods. The light red smooth skin of the Desiree potato looks very attractive.
- The Desiree potato, in contrast with other potatoes, has a longer cropping period and lends itself well to being cultivated either as a normal maincrop or early maincrop.
Disadvantages of the Desiree Potato
- The Desiree potato’s vulnerability to eelworms is its only notable negative.
Purchasing Desiree Seed Potatoes in the UK
This potato specie is one of the more popular potato species grown as maincrops by gardeners and farmers in the UK which makes it easy to find. It is readily available at online stores, DIY stores and garden centres. They are also available for purchase at discount supermarkets at bargain prices. You can find them in popular stores like Wilkinsons, Lidi, Poundland and Aldi as early as February.
Buying seed potatoes from random people online on general retailers like Amazon and eBay is not recommended. It is best that you know exactly who is supplying your accent seed potatoes.
Also, a discount store might not be the best option for buying seed potatoes, they might have good deals but it can also result in poor quality produce. This is due to discount stores taking second quality seed potatoes while the bigger conventional suppliers will take the highest quality seed potatoes. This could lead to a very disappointing harvest, which you will only find out after you have carefully taken care of the crops for several months.
Desiree Potato Alternatives
Strong points for this potato breed are its sizeable potato yield, the Desiree potato can also be harvested a few weeks earlier than its harvest date. Alternatively, you can let the Desiree potato stay in the ground after its harvest date to produce even larger potatoes. The Desiree potato lends itself well to storage also.
Viable alternatives are the Valour and Estima breeds.
The Valour breed, however, does not produce a potato as large as a mature Desiree while the Estima produces larger than average potatoes.
When to Chit/Sprout Desiree Potatoes
The best period to start chitting or sprouting your accent potatoes is in the third week of February. This time is recommended by experts as it will give four to five weeks to develop healthy sprouts. At around the time when they should be ready to be planted out keep the potatoes in cool places with good lighting to ensure they grow. Healthy accent potatoes should have short green spouts.
When to Plant Desire Potatoes
Desiree potatoes belong to the first early maincrop potato variety and under the right conditions become ready for harvest 4 months after the seed potatoes are planted. The major factor governing the time for planting your potatoes is the date of the last frost in your area. The smallest touch of frost can be very damaging to potato plants.
If the foliage of your potato plant is above ground and exposed to the frost an unexpected severe Frost could totally kill them.
The date for planting Desiree potato seeds can be calculated with the estimate that seed potatoes take about a month to appear above ground, so try to make sure that the period they appear above ground coincides with when the winter is over. This is the best practice to make sure they are not exposed to frost.
When to Harvest Desiree Potatoes
The harvest time for all potato breeds is majorly dependent on when you plant your seed potatoes. It also depends on weather conditions throughout its growing period, but on average you can expect it to be ready for harvest between the second and last weeks of July if you are in the UK.
Summary of Desiree Potato Characteristics
Type of harvest: Maincrop
Size: Average when grown as early maincrop, increases to large if left in the ground
Crop Regularity: Consistently produces a good potato yield
Use: cooks well and can be used for all dishes except as a salad potato
Skin texture: Smooth glossy skin
Cooked Texture: Slightly waxy
Storage: easy to store,
Special features: Popularly known as the most versatile of all maincrop potato species