Planting Seed Potatoes

The weather is good today again. It feels like spring has finally arrived. I know it hasn’t – its forecast to get cold again tomorrow. However, whilst the weather is clement, I have planted my seed potatoes.

I am growing two varieties this year: Pentland Javelin which is an early potato

potato pentland javelin

and Romano which is a main crop.

potato romano

You actually treat them the same until it is time to harvest them. Early potatoes are harvested as soon as they start to flower and should be eaten immediately. Main Crop Potatoes are left until after they have finished flowering and then they can be stored for use during the winter.

I put my seed potatoes to ‘chit’ six weeks ago. That means to produce shoots. They were actually ready to plant a week ago – the weather wasn’t ready for them. Potatoes should be planted in rows 2 ft apart with 18 ins between the tubers. This gives room to ‘mound them up’ when necessary. It also gives room for the seed potatoes to grow a good network of roots and new tubers.If you do not have enough room to plant your potatoes 2 ft apart, they can be grown a bit closer, but your crop will be reduced. In this case, plant your tubers deep – 9 ins .

The one thing you don’t want is for your tubers to come to the surface. This is one of the reasons for ‘mounding up’ – that simply means making a mound of soil over your row of potato shoots. If your tubers do come to the surface, the sun will make them turn green. Green potatoes are unpalatable and also slightly poisonous. Not what you want! The other reasons for mounding up your potatoes is so that the frost does not get to the young shots and also it gives a larger area of soil exposed to the sun so it warms up quicker. As a useful side bar, it keeps the weeds down.