POTATOES (Root)
Types:First Earlies, Second Earlies & Maincrop
Skill needed:Easy but potatoes can be disease-prone.
Soil:
  • Most soil types.
  • Area which is sunny and not prone to frost is preferable.
  • Soil must be prepared (digging, manuring) the previous autumn.
  • Containers or bags (bags produce variable results) can be used. Place tuber(s) on 7" soil & cover with 8"-9" of soil.
Planting Time:
  • Chit tubers before planting, i.e. place in a light, cool and dry area with 'eyes' uppermost until shoots are over 1" long.
  • First - late March; Second - mid-April; Main - late April.
Growing Tips:
  • Tuber must be sprouting.
  • Don't plant in very wet or frozen soil.
  • Plant in trenches about 11"-14" deep, place potato so that shoots will be c. 5" from surface when covered. Cover with soil.
  • Protect from late frosts.
  • Earth up as plants develops. New tubers must not be exposed to light or they will turn green. Green potatoes are poisonous and must not be eaten.
  • If growing in potato bags (plastic), use one tuber per bag otherwise overcrowding reduces yield significantly. Earth up carefully as stems and leaves develop.
Problems:
  • Potato Blight - associated with damp, particularly in August, brown areas appear on leaves. Can be devasting - if moderate, cut off stems 10 days before lifting, do not compost.
  • Common Scab: Potatoes edible. Most common with light, dry soils; dig in compost in autumn not just before planting.
Harvesting:14-22 weeks after planting.
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