You can do just about anything with potatoes when cooking and if you follow our guide, you can grow them too!
If you have enough space in your garden, then growing potatoes will give you a bountiful harvest to enjoy each year. Potatoes are relatively easy to grow and by planting a mixture of varieties you can ensure that you’re able to harvest throughout the year.
Potatoes come in three distinct variations; earlies, second earlies and main crop. Before you get worried, all that this relates to is when your potatoes are ready to harvest. A small number of earlies, followed by a maincrop is the best solution, providing you with two crops in one season.
Including the soil preparation, it takes one hour for a vegetable bed that is one metre by two metres in size.
Start potatoes off by chitting them about a month before you intend to plant them. This is a process where tubers are placed in a sunny and frost free position where they can develop strong shoots. The potatoe on the image has been destroyed by frost.
When it comes to planting, you should dig a trench approximately 12cm deep. You can line the trench with compost or grass clippings for a better crop and you should space tubers between 30cm and 40cm apart. If you’re sowing more than one row, space trenches 60cm apart.
You can also grow a couple of potato plants in a large container on your balcony, so there’s no reason not to enjoy these delicious crops even if you don’t have a garden.
Caring and harvesting
As shoots begin to appear above the surface of the soil, you can heap soil into a pyramid shape, covering the early leaves and stems to keep the frosts away and encourage more potato growth.
Allow first earlies to produce flowers, before lifting potatoes when they’re around the size of a hen’s egg. For maincrop varieties, you should let the leaves yellow before you start to harvest.