POTATO PLANTING GUIDE
Potatoes are grouped into 3 types based on when you plant and harvest them. First Earlies, Second Earlies and Main Crop. First Early potatoes (‘new’ potatoes) are the earliest to crop. This planting guide will give you all the hints and tips you need to plant your First Early Potatoes.
Potatoes are best grown from seed potatoes. In store we have a wide selection of seed potato varieties to choose from, including;
First Early Varieties
Duke of York
Red Duke of York
Before planting you should 'chit' your potatoes as this will give you a bigger crop!
Place your seed potatoes on trays or egg boxes with the end with the most eyes facing upwards.
Stand them in a cool bright spot until they develop shoots that are 1-2cm long.
'Chitting' your seed potatoes
PLANTING IN CONTAINERS
What you'll need
Packet of First Early Potatoes (Chitted)
Peat-Free Vegetable Compost
Hessian Planting Sack or similar Deep Container
After chitting your potatoes you're ready for planting. You can plant out First Early potatoes from March, either in rows in the ground or in containers. We've chosen to use a hessian potato planting bag for ours which work well for smaller spaces! Select a nice deep container with good drainage and put a layer of peat-free vegetable compost in the bottom about 10cm deep. Potatoes are very hungry plants so will need lots of fertiliser. Add the fertiliser of your choice; we've found that Enriched Biochar Fertiliser works a treat!
With First Earlies you want to remove the weakest shoots, leaving about 4 of the strongest; you can do this by rubbing the smaller ones off with your thumb. Next, place your seed potatoes with shoots facing upwards on the compost. Leave plenty of room between your seed potatoes, we've put three in our bag but you could use just one. Cover your Seed potatoes with a layer of compost, leaving plenty of room to add more soil as the potato plants grow. Once you've covered the potatoes place in a sunny spot. All that's left to do now is water and wait!
Before Earthing Up
Make sure your potatoes are watered regularly, and when your potato shoots reach about 20cm cover the shoots about half-way with more compost. This is called "earthing up" and will need to be done repeatedly! Earthing up increases your crop of potatoes and prevents them becoming green and inedible. We've earthed up our potatoes and will do so again a few times before harvesting.
After Earthing Up
June and July
First Early Potatoes are harvested while the plants are still flowering. You'll know they are ready when the potatoes are about the size of an egg. Cut the potato plants to the ground, then either turn out your sack or container onto a tarp or gently prise the tubers out using a hand fork. These potatoes don’t store well, so dig up the potatoes when you want to eat them.