Seed potatoes are now available to buy from our garden centres. Some of our customers have asked about the best way of getting their potatoes off to a flying start and how to achieve bumper crops so here is our short guide to getting the best results from your seed potatoes.
January is too early to plant the seed potato tubers outside as they’re not frost hardy. Planting out should be done from mid to late spring, but they can be started into growth now. This is called chitting (careful how you say it) and it helps ensure better and bigger crops in the summer. This is a good idea especially for early varieties, but it will also improve the performance of main crops too.
When you get the tubers home, stand them upright with the eye-end, that’s the end with the most buds or eyes as they’re often called, uppermost. You can even stand them in a seed tray or an egg box is particularly useful as it will help keep them stable and upright. You need to then put them somewhere reasonably cool, but frost free and in good light. Within a few weeks the tubers will start to sprout and produce young shoots from the eyes. It’s important that the tubers are kept in good light otherwise the shoots become long and thin. What you’re after are strong, healthy, squat shoots that reach a couple of inches high by planting out time. Then when it comes to planting out, always add plenty of organic matter to the soil plus a good dressing of a general granular fertiliser and if you wish a scattering of slug pellets or other slug control method to help keep these pests away.
If you have a small garden but would still like to benefit from home grown potatoes you still can. Many of our team have grown potatoes in sacks. You can even buy specifically designed sacks with a handy velcro lift up side panel so you can keep an eye on your crop from below and gather your crop easily! We sell small bags of seed potatoes as well as larger ones and with lots of varieties to choose from all that’s left to plan are your potato recipes!