Growing Your Seed Potatoes
Potatoes are a staple ingredient of many meals, boiled, mashed or frying up some healthy homemade chips! Growing seed potatoes is easy, really rewarding and there are many different varieties. Great fun to prep and grow with the kids as well! We have put together a helpful step by step guide on growing your seed potatoes.
Prep : Allow your potatoes to ’chit’ or sprout before planting. Egg boxes are actually ideal for this (or another type of shallow tray) Protect the tray by placing it somewhere light, while protecting from extreme heat and frost. Leave the potatoes for about 6 weeks which will allow the sprouts to grow, we advise until they get to about 2.5cm tall. When they reach this height they are ready to be planted into the ground.
Planting in the Ground: Make sure to pick a nice sunny spot, and get the soil nice and loose. Dig down about 16cm deep by 16cm wide, and begin to place them in the area with the shoots facing upwards. We advise spacing about 30cm apart and if you are doing multiple rows, to allow about 60cm of space between each row. Rake the soil back in to cover.
Within a few weeks you will begin to see the first shoots, and as you see this, cover with a new layer of soil. When the shoots get to about 5cm, is the time to ‘’ earth up ‘’, which is again covering the shoots with more soil to block out any light. You will probably need to ‘’earth up’’ 2 or 3 times as they grow.
When the plants start to flower ( roughly 12 weeks after planting ) its a sign that your potatoes are almost ready for harvesting. We advise to harvest at flower drop, or when the foliage starts to turn yellow and remember the longer you keep them in the ground, the larger they will be and the bigger the yield. You can then carefully remove the whole potato plant using a garden fork and carefully dig up from the side. Store them in a dark, frost free but cool place, and wash before use. Enjoy!