Are you planning to plant some potatoes in your vegetable plot this year? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Use seed potatoes
Seed potatoes are much better to plant than the kind you’ll find in your local supermarket.
For starters, they haven’t been treated with various chemicals that can often stop the potato from sprouting. As well as that, seed potatoes are guaranteed to be free from disease and introducing viruses to your crops is something you’ll want to avoid.
Buy seed potatoes to give your potato-growing season the best possible start.
Chit in February
Have you started chitting your potatoes yet? If you’re planning on growing potatoes this year, you’ll need to chit them.
Chitting is a process that takes place before planting the potato and encourages seeds to sprout by placing them in a cool, light room. You should start chitting some time in February – six weeks before you intend to plant them.
After this six weeks has passed, the soil will be warmer – around 10 degrees Celsius – and more appropriate for growth to take place.
Plant the potatoes correctly
After six weeks, your potatoes should be covered in strong, green shoots – each of which will be a few centimetres long.
Clear the potato of most of the shoots, leaving only a few of the strongest ones. Having ensured that the soil’s temperature is set at around 10 degrees Celsius, you’re ready to plant the potatoes.
Aim to plant them between one and three inches below the surface soil, with the shoots facing upwards. Also give each potato plenty of growing space – at least a foot and preferably a little more.
Remember – potatoes should be fully matured between June and October, depending on whether they’re an early, second early on maincrop potato.