If you’re looking for an easy and convenient veggie to add to your garden, potatoes are your best bet! You can grow them in any type of soil and, if space is an issue, you can even grow them in containers. The key is to decide the variety you want to go with – whether you want to go with first or second early, or maincrop potatoes.
If you’re looking to get a quicker harvest and don’t have a lot of room to work with, then planting early potatoes is the way to go! Depending on the type you choose, they’ll be ready to be harvested in just 10-12 weeks, and they’re also less susceptible to pests and diseases. Harvest time for second earlies is usually between late June and August – roughly 16 weeks after they’ve been planted. Maincrop potatoes take up a bit more space than other varieties, but they’re perfect for storing. They are generally ready to harvest after 18 weeks from planting.
To chit your potatoes, simply place them in an old egg box with the blunt end facing up. Then, give your potatoes as much natural light as possible to encourage them to sprout.
How to plant
Dig a trench roughly 4 to 5 inches deep and space them 12-15 inches apart in rows. Cover with soil and give them a good soaking if the dirt is dry. When the shoots start to sprout, mound the soil around them so they’re nicely covered. Follow this process until the mound is 6-10 inches high.
About one or two weeks before harvest-time, snip off the green foliage right at the soil line. This helps toughen the potato skins, making them better able to survive the harvest process without damage, and also helps them store longer.
Pests and diseases
Potato blight is an all-too-familiar problem, often occurring in warm and damp climates. Affected plants turn an unfortunate blackish colour and eventually perish. Infected potatoes can rot in the dirt or in storage, so beware! Eelworm is another pesky intruder that can remain in the soil for years on end.