How to Grow Potatoes!
Potatoes are such a magical crop and easy to grow - you pop the seed potato in the ground, make sure the roots are never exposed to light, and then a few months later reach into the ground to pull out earthy delights ready for your dinner!
Here is a more detailed growing guide if it's your first time growing potatoes!
Pick your potatoes! Choose your organic seed potatoes. These are potatoes from last year's harvest. Ideally you should purchase seed potatoes each year from a reputable supplier. This is because these seed potatoes are certified to be as disease free as possible to give you the best results. Choose certified organic seed potatoes to be sure to avoid nasty chemicals which can be present in non-organic seed potatoes.
Choose a site Pick a suitable frost-free growing location. Make sure this is not a location where you have grown potatoes in the last couple of years to minimise the risk of disease. Pick a well drained sunny location with loose soil. You can also grow them in pots or growbags if your space is limited! For the best results, feed the soil with well rotted organic manure.
Sow! Traditionally first earlies are sown around St. Patrick's Day which makes it easy to remember to sow them! They should be sown in single rows, 15cm deep, 25cm apart and 45cm between rows. Second earlies can be sown late March. Sow your main crop potatoes in mid to late April about 35 cm apart. Some people use trenches, no dig, or ridge techniques - we will cover these in another blog post!
Cover young plants if there is any chance of frost!
'Earth Up' your potato plants as they grow. This is to avoid exposing any developing potatoes to sunlight, which will make them green - green potatoes are poisonous! So when the potato plant gets to about 20cm high, add soil to cover the stem about halfway up. Repeat as needed during the summer.
Harvest: With earlies, wait until the flowers open or the buds drop; they are ready to harvest when they are the size of hens' eggs. With maincrops for storage wait until the foliage turns yellow, then cut it and remove it. Leave for 10 days before harvesting the tubers - this allows the skin to set, leaving them to dry for a few hours before storing.