The potato season starts

There’s the chance to get the potato growing season underway at two events in Gloucestershire.

The annual Potato Weekend at Cheltenham’s Dundry Nurseries takes place this week with more than 140 different varieties and the launch of a contest to find the heaviest spud.

Then on February 3, Stroud Potato Day will be held at Merrywalks, organised by Down to Earth Stroud and Transition Stroud.

Dundry has been holding its two-day event for 21 years, drawing hundreds of visitors. As well as tubers for sale, there are stalls by local gardening groups and advice on growing spuds.

There will be plenty of spuds at Dundry.

Tubers are sold by weight or individually for 20p – ideal for those with limited space or if you want to try something new.

This season, there are around 20 varieties new to Potato Weekend, including First Earlies ‘Forza’, ‘Miranda’ and ‘Vitabella’, ‘Aphrodite’ and ‘Lucera’, which are both second earlies, while new main crop spuds include ‘Sarpo Shona’, ‘Joly’ and ‘Performer’.

Any variety of potato can be used for the heaviest potato competition but they must have been grown by the exhibitor.

“We will be giving advice on which to grow,” says Matt Hodgson from the Dundry team. “There are a few that are more likely to be successful than others.”

The grower of the winning spud will get a £100 Dundry Nurseries Voucher. The show and judging will take place at the nursery on September 29 and 30.

Stroud Potato Day will have many different varieties supplied by Dundry, which supports the event. There will also be a chance to buy a potato cook book and take part in Stroud Community Seed Bank’s seed swap. More information is available online and the event runs from 10-2.30pm.

Potato Weekend is on Saturday and Sunday January 20 and 21, 2018, at Dundry Nurseries, Bamfurlong Lane, from 9-4.30pm. More details are on the website

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