Welcome to the wonderful world of growing potatoes! Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just dipping your toes into the soil for the first time, potatoes are an excellent choice for your home garden. There's something truly special about harvesting your own spuds and enjoying their delicious flavour straight from the garden. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to become a potato-growing pro.
Getting Started: Types of Potatoes
Before you dive into planting, let's talk about the different types of potatoes. We have first earlies, second earlies, and main crop potatoes. Each type has its own unique qualities and is harvested at different times of the year. Don't worry, we'll help you choose the best one for your garden!
First Earlies: These little guys are perfect for beginners. They're fast-growing and less susceptible to potato blight, making them a great choice for novice gardeners. Plant them in February, and you'll be enjoying your harvest by June or July.
Second Earlies: Similar to first earlies but planted a bit later. They're harvested from July onwards, giving you a continuous supply of delicious potatoes throughout the summer.
Main Crop: If you're looking for a longer growing season, main crop potatoes are the way to go. Plant them in April, and you can harvest them from August to October. Plus, they store well, so you can enjoy your homegrown potatoes for months to come.
Planting Your Potatoes: Tips and Tricks
Now that you've chosen your potatoes, it's time to get them in the ground (or in a container)! Here are some handy tips for successful potato cultivation:
In the Ground:
- Prepare your soil by adding compost or manure in late autumn.
- Plant your potatoes about 15cm deep, spacing them 30cm apart in rows 45cm apart.
- As the shoots start to appear, gently cover them with soil to encourage more potato growth.
In a Container:
- Choose a container around 40L in size with good drainage. We've got lots here at Kings.
- Fill it with compost and plant 3 to 5 potatoes.
- Keep adding compost as the shoots grow, covering them up to encourage more potatoes to form.
- If you're short on space, consider using innovative solutions like the Elho PotatoPot for easy and controlled potato cultivation.
- Plant after the risk of frost has passed, but be prepared to protect your plants with fleece in case of late frosts.
- Water your potatoes regularly, especially during dry spells, and keep an eye out for pesky slugs.
Chitting is the process of encouraging seed potatoes to sprout before planting. Simply place your seed potatoes in a cool, light place with their eyes facing up, and watch them sprout!
Dealing with Potato Blight:
Potato blight is a fungal disease that can wreak havoc on your crop, especially during wet summers. Keep an eye out for infected foliage and remove it promptly. There are also chemical and organic treatments available to help prevent and manage blight.
Growing potatoes is a rewarding and enjoyable experience for gardeners of all levels. We hope this guide has equipped you with the knowledge and confidence to embark on your potato-growing journey. Happy planting, and even happier eating!
And if you have any questions or need some advice, don't hesitate to get in touch with the plant team at Kings.