Growing Potatoes – Allotment Gardening

Growing Potatoes

potatoesThere is an ever increasing number of potato varieties, these are usually classified as one of three kinds, Early’s, Second early’s or Main-crop potatoes some times know as lates. The three kinds give the grower an indication of when the crop will be ready for harvest.

Soil For Potatoes.

Potatoes will grow in most reasonable soils, and for this fact are often used on newly cleared land that is intended to be a vegetable plot. The act of earthing the potatoes up and the dense leaf canopy helps to clean the land.
The soil can be dug in autumn, adding peat or garden compost. Never add garden lime to the growing area, as this will encourage the disease common scab on the crop.

 

Chitting Potatoes.

Although not strictly necessary, but placing the seed potatoes in a cool light area for a few weeks prier to planting will allow small green shoots to form at each potato eye. This sprouting gives the plant a head start when planted.
more information about: Chitting potatoes.

 

Planting Potatoes.

Potatoes are planted 5 to 6 inches deep, in trenches or planting holes, a good general fertiliser can be added at this stage.

Early Potatoes.
Planted in mid March to early April, tuber are set 30cm (12 inch) apart. Distance between each row is 60cm (24 inch).
Approximate time between planting and harvest, 13 weeks.

Second Early Potatoes.
Planted mid April, tubers spaced at 38cm (15 inch) apart. Distance between each row is 60cm (24 inch).
Approximate time between planting and harvest, 18 weeks.

Main Crop Potatoes.
Planted in mid-late April, tubers are spaced 45cm (18 inch) apart. Distance between each row is 75cm (30 inch).
Approximate time between planting and harvest, 22 weeks.

 

Earthing Up Potatoes.

As the potato haulm (stems and leaves) gets to 25cm (9-10 inch) high, soil is drawn up from between the rows against the plants to form a 15cm (6 inch) mound. This potentially increases the crop yield, and protects any tubers that were forming near the soil surface.

NOTE. Potato shoots are very vulnerable to frost. If the potato shoots have emerged from the soil and there is a danger of frost, drawing a small amount soil over them will give some protection.

 

Harvesting Potatoes.

Early and second early potatoes are ready to be harvested when the flowers are fully open, and they are about hen egg size.

Main crop potatoes that are for storing are best left in the ground until the haulm has withered down.
Remove the haulm and lift the roots and tubers, allow the potato tubers to dry for a few hours out of direct sunlight before storing.

 

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