To help you with growing your potatoes we have put together this Growing guide to help you with each stage.
Stage 1 – CHOOSING SEED
Always use healthy classified seed potatoes! The classified seed potatoes are the highest grade of potatoes available. Check the label on your seed potatoes – it should show the classification number, Grade and size, certifying authority and many other details. Be very suspicious if labels are not present or if the label does not contain all the legally required information.
Stage 2 – CHITTING
Undo your seed potatoes and place in a shallow tray or egg tray in a cool, light, frost free place several weeks prior to planting. The seed potatoes will develop strong sprouting shoot (chits) which will help them grow quickly once planted. This is a helpful but not essential process.
Stage 3 – SOIL PREPARATION & PLANTING
Growing Potatoes is easy!! Dig the potato plot in autumn or spring, so that seed potatoes can be easily planted once soil temperatures are over 8 degrees centigrade.
Stage 4 & 5 – EARTHING UP
When potatoes have emerged a few inches, pull earth around the plant with a rake, leaving peaked rows. Earthing up gives the plant more soil to grow in, stops sunlight turning exposed tubers green and improves drainage. It is also a quick and effective way of controlling weeds. Repeat the process as required, until the foliage is too big.
Stage 6 – HARVESTING
- Earlies – 65-100 days
- Second Earlies – 100-130 days
- Maincrop – 125-180 days.
These are guidelines dependant on planting date and growing conditions.
Before harvesting, carefully scrape away some soil and check that the potatoes have grown to the size that you like.
First earlies are best enjoyed when they are small and fresh in June/July/August and Second earlies follow on. Maincrop varieties are best left until October for size and skin set. Once the maincrop foliage has died back the potatoes should be left in the ground for 2-3 weeks to allow the skin to set, ready for storing.