How do I plant Seed Potatoes?
This is a question I’m frequently asked, How do I plant Seed Potatoes? Last year was the first year we planted seed potatoes in a good few years. I had forgotten how good our own potatoes tasted. I don’t use any chemicals in growing our own potatoes, just the usual mix of soil, water and sunshine!!
The first thing is to decide on which type of Seed Potatoes you want to plant. Is it going to be First Early, Maincrop?? These are terms that are used to describe different types of potatoes and it just means from planting how soon can you harvest them.
For example, Colleen, Maris Bard are a First Early and from planting, they could be ready in as little as 12 weeks in June. British Queen are a 2nd Early, so you’ve guessed it, they would be ready for the 2nd harvest, a few weeks later. My own Mother loves the ‘new potatoes’ and would often try one just to make sure they’re cooked before the dinner is even ready (Salt and lots of butter needed!!) Maincrop potatoes such as Desiree or Golden Wonders are usually ready around September time for harvest.
|First Early||Second Early||Maincrop|
How do I Chit Potatoes?
Some people like to Chit their Potatoes!!! This means that they will leave their potatoes on a window to get some extra light and the eyes of the potatoes start to grow. Most people start to Chit Potatoes about 6 weeks before they are going to plant them into the ground (Late January, Early February.) Wherever you are setting your potatoes out for chitting, just remember that it is in a cool dry place, but free from frost.
Plant your First Early, seed potatoes, also called tubers around 15cm deep in the ground and about 40cm apart in rows. If you’re planting more than one row, plant the rows about 60cm apart.
Plant your Second Earlies and maincrop, 15cm deep and 40cm apart, in rows that are 60cm apart.
When to plant Seed Potatoes?
I always use St. Patricks Day as a marker to plant seed potatoes. At this stage, the risk of frost is greatly reduced. Once planted in the ground, when you start to have leaves grow this is when you need to earth up around the plants. This simply means to put more earth around the plants to encourage more tuber potatoes to grow. This will need to be done a few times in the growing season, it will mean that you’ll have a bigger harvest. It is important to ensure that the potato tubers are covered at all times, otherwise they can turn green, making them poisonous. In a few short months, you’ll be enjoying your ‘new potatoes’ with lots of salt and butter – or at least that’s how I like mine!
Some Examples of Seed Potatoes , you can find more varieties here.
Blue Danube – Unusual Blue Skin Potato with great Blight Resistance
Maris Bard – Really good all rounder potato, use in salads, boiling, roast potatoes
Charlotte – Hint of Chestnut Flavour
Pentland Javelin – First Early and gives a really heavy crop of potatoes.
If you require any advice in relation to planting potatoes or preparing your vegetable garden, don’t hesitate to call and see me at Rockbarton. Have you decided what varieties you would like to grow this year?