How To Grow Seed Potatoes

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Growing your own vegetables may sound tricky, but if you follow a few simple steps it can be really, really rewarding!

Here at Garden Store we have a wide range of seeds, onions sets and seed potatoes and all of the tools and equipment you need to get you started. Take a look at our guide to growing your own crop of potatoes, then have a go for yourself!

Purchasing your Seed Potatoes

Always grow your potatoes from certified seed potatoes from a reputable seller as this will ensure that they are disease free. There are so many varieties to choose from it can be hard to know where to start. We stock a wide range of packaged and loose seed potatoes, so pay us a visit and chat to our expert staff and they will help you come up with the best combination for you. Our Seed potato taster packs are also a great choice and are the ideal way to try new varieties.

Chitting Your Potatoes

If you have time before you intend to plant your seed potatoes or the ground is still too cold, it is a good idea to chit them. This just means starting them sprouting before you plant them in the ground and is particularly effective with First and Second Earlies.

Take an empty egg carton and stand the seed potatoes in the cups with the end with most eyes facing upwards (this is referred to as the rose end). Place them in an area that is bright but not in direct sunlight. These should be left for about 6 weeks and chits should grow to approx 2-3cm in length.

Growing your Seed Potatoes In The Ground

Potatoes grow best in an open sunny position in well drained fertile soil. Avoid growing your potatoes in the same place for more than two years in a row to avoid disease.

Dig over the area where you would like to grow them, removing any large stones. It is a good idea to dig in well rotted manure a couple of months before you intend to plant.

Planting Your Seed Potatoes In The Ground

The exact time to plant your seed potatoes will vary depending on region and weather.

But as a general rule:

  • First Earlies can be planted from the end of February
  • Second Earlies can be planted from mid March
  • Early Main Crop can be planted from late March
  • Maincrop can be planted from late March
  • Second Cropping potatoes can be planted from early August

Once your site is prepared you can dig a trench 10cm deep for your first row. Place your seed potatoes in the trench with the rose end facing up. Leave a space of about 30cm between them. Continue with your rows 65cm apart.

As They Grow

The shoots will start to emerge from the ground. As you start to see the stem of the plant, it is important to mound earth up at the base so only the upmost leaves are exposed. This protects the stem from the weather and encourages new growth.

Growing Seed Potatoes In Containers

Deep containers can be used to grow smaller crops of potatoes. This is a great way to grow your own food in a small space or on a patio. This works especially well if you are wanting to grow an early batch of new potatoes.

Add approx 20cm of potting compost you your container. Add a further 5cm of compost to the top. The stems will start to grow through and you can then add another layer of compost to cover all but the uppermost leaves. You can carry on this process until your container is full.

Harvesting Your Seed Potatoes

Just like with the plating of the seeds, harvesting depends on a number of factors. But as a general rule, first earlies should be ready June-July, second earlies July-August and maincrops from late August- October. Your crop will flower, then the flowers will die back. When this happens they are ready to harvest!

Storing Your Harvest

Your harvested potatoes should be stored in a dry, ventilated position for an hour or so to dry out the skin. Once dry, you can store them in paper bags or hessian sacks in a cool, dry, frost free place.

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