Planting As soon as you can obtain your seed potatoes set them out, shoots uppermost, in trays containing a layer of 1" of dry peat. Keep them in a light frost-free room aiming for sturdy 1/2" to 1" shoots at planting time. Chitting is useful for potatoes but is not essential. Water liberally in dry weather, this is important once the tubers have started to form. Plant the potatoes 5” deep 12 – 15” apart depending on whether it is First Earlies or Maincrop. Add soil as the shoots appear at the top; earthing up. This should supply you with a larger crop of potatoes.
First earlies - February, March
Second earlies - March, April
Maincrops - April
Should the weather be too wet or cold, all varieties may be planted up until the end of April.
Care of the crop
If there is still a danger of frost when the shoots have emerged, draw a little soil over them for protection. When the haulm or stem is about 9" high it is time for earthing up. Use a draw hoe to pile loose soil to make a ridge 6" high. If the weather is dry, flood the trenches between the ridges
Potatoes are great to grow in Containers
All potatoes are fine grown in bags or containers. There is a lot of varieties to choose from as well as considering when you would like to harvest. First or Second Earlies are ideal for growing in containers. Maincrop can be grown in containers but will need ample room to grow. Mound up by adding extra soil as the tips start to show.
When you obtain your seed potatoes in February set them out (shoots uppermost) in egg boxes or wooden containers containing 1” dry peat. Store in a light (not sunny) frost-free position and in about 6 weeks there will be several sturdy 1/2” – 1” shoots. Do not damage any of these sprouts. Chitting is useful for potatoes but is not essential.
With Earlies, wait until the flowers or buds wither. Then carefully remove soil from a small part of the ridge and examine the tubers. They are ready for harvesting when they are the size of a hen's egg. Insert the fork into the ridge well away from the haulm. Lift the roots forward into the trench. With Maincrops for storage, cut off the withered stems, remove them and wait 10 days, then lift the roots and let the tubers dry for several hours. Then place them in a suitable container and store them in the dark inside a frost-free room or shed.
Handle seed potatoes with great care - do not drop bags on hard surfaces which may cause bruising. Avoid exposure of seed to frost and draughts