How do you like your potatoes? Soft and fluffy, pale and interesting or firm and flavoursome? Whatever floats your boat we have a spud for that.
Early First up with the shortest growing cycle - no summer table is complete without a bowl of freshly dug tatties covered in butter! New potatoes are quick off the mark and are ready 15 - 16 weeks after planting. If you have a polytunnel or greenhouse then you can plant them as early as January and have very early potatoes on the table in April/May - depending on the weather.
Salad Salad potatoes are ideal boiled as part of a salad as they hold their shape well and can even be roasted whole. Make for very sophisticated dining experience.
Growing you potatoes
Potatoes should be grown in deep, fertile soil that is well drained and contains plenty of organic matter. Potatoes need potash so dig in plenty of well rotted manure, compost and seaweed or approved organic potash fertilizer. Do not add lime - potatoes dislike lime and its presence in the soil appears to encourage scab.
- When the shoots appear, use a draw/ridging hoe to pile up the soil over them (earthing up). The shoots should be just buried and a small ridge created on either side. This should be done about three times, or until the haulm (foliage) is too big to cover. Earthing up protects the tubers from frost and reduces the number of green potatoes. It also helps get rid of weeds. If using containers then top up with soil or compost as the shoots appear.
- Potatoes are sensitive to frost. So if frost is forecast you should either apply a little heat to your tunnel to keep it above zero, or cover your young plants with crop cover.
- Make sure to irrigate the plants as they grow.
- To increase yield you can give the plants a potash rich liquid feed every two weeks - liquid seaweed, liquid Horsetail or Vinasse are very suitable for this and would be much appreciated.