Top Tips for growing Potatoes

- Posted By: Phil

What Sort To Choose
EARLIES are planted closer together so are better in a small place, and are less likely to suffer from blight (because you lift them earlier in the year).
1st EARLIES don’t store well but give you great “new potatoes” fresh from the garden. They take 10 – 13 weeks from planting to harvest, and should be ready to lift in June/July.

2nd EARLIES can often be stored for a short time, take 16-17 weeks from planting to
harvest, and can be lifted July/August.

MAINCROP potatoes are the ones to grow if you want a large harvest to store over winter, and have plenty of space to grow them. They take 18-20 weeks to reach maturity and can be lifted in August to eat straight away, or left until September or October before harvesting for storage.

How To Start
Pre-sprouted (chitted) potatoes give a bigger crop – especially EARLIES. So set out your seed potatoes with the ‘eye’ end uppermost, in egg boxes or similar, in a cool, light, frost-free place,
until little shoots form. (If you live in Calderdale, you should do this in early February)

How To Plant
When the soil starts to warm up – usually late March to early April around this area – you can
plant your 1st EARLIES, with 2nd EARLIES in mid April, and MAINCROP in mid to late April.
Dig a trench 5″(12cm) deep, in a sunny spot which was preferably dug and manured the
previous Autumn, and which hasn’t recently grown potatoes (to reduce disease).
Sprinkle in a little fertiliser (GROWMORE or FISH, BLOOD & BONE are ideal).
Set the potatoes in the trench with the shoots upwards; 1st EARLY varieties should be 12″
(30cm) apart with 16-20″ (40-50cm) between rows. 2nd EARLIES and MAINCROP potatoes need to be 15″ (37cm) apart with up to 30″
(75cm) between each row. Cover with soil.