Don’t Get Left without Seed Potatoes this Spring!!
Growing Your Own Food is one of the most rewarding things that you can do in the garden. Growing edible plants such as Seed Potatoes and other kitchen favourites is easy, all it requires is soil, sunlight, water and a good shake of tlc.
Starting off seed potatoes with the first earlies during early spring through to Second Earlies and Main Crop will ensure that you are harvesting your own, freshest of home grown food throughout the summer and into autumn.
The potato has been a mainstay of Irish cuisine for centuries and today this much loved root vegetable is making a comeback in home gardens. There are many different varieties of seed potatoes to choose from:
First Earlies Seed Potatoes:
Duke of York - Heritage variety yellow flesh and oval in shape. Floury in texture
Home Guard - My favourite early potato, firm and full of flavour when cooked.
Red Duke of York - oval, red skinned tubers. Soapy, yellow flesh, superb flavour
Sharpes Express - Cream coloured and floury texture
Second Earlies Seed Potatoes:
British Queens - One of the most popular of all. Full of flavour, floury texture
Maris Piper – A really great potato to grow as it has good resistance to potato cyst eelworm and stores
Main crop Seed Potatoes:
Cara - Pink Skin and floury in texture
Golden Wonder - My favourite Maincrop and one of the most popular.
Kerrs PInk - One of the most popular of all. Pink skin and floury flesh.
Record - Oval, yellow potatoes, floury in texture
Sarpo Mira - Pink skin with yellow flesh and floury in texture.
Rooster – Red skinned variety with yellow flesh. A floury potato, good for baking, roasting, boiling, mashing and chipping.
Setanta – Very good scab and blight resistance. A red skinned, floury potato
No matter which variety you pick it is important to be realistic about the space you want to give up in your garden and the amount of each variety you have room to store or want to eat fresh.
One of the best varieties to start with is Sarpo as it is completely resistant to potato blight a real scourge in our climate.
For a successful potato crop you will need to set aside a large plot of nutrient rich soil somewhere in your garden that enjoys full sunshine.
No matter the Seed Potato you choose, it is worthwhile to sprout your seed potatoes before planting them as this speeds up the harvest time by as much as three weeks. To sprout your potatoes place the tubers (one deep) in soil and leave them to rest in a greenhouse or on a warm, sunlit windowsill until they begin to sprout. When your tubers are approximately 2.5 cm long they are ready to plant.
Potatoes are relatively easy to grow but first it is important to prepare the soil by digging nutrient rich organic matter or the plant based and organic, Nature Safe Granular Plant Food into trenches.
Plant your sprouted tubers (shoots pointing up) and keep the new plants well watered. Keep an eye on your potatoes and notice when shoots start to appear. Earth up around the shoots as they grow so that only the very tip of the shoot is visible.
First Earlies Seed Potatoes can be planted from January to March. Planting potatoes this early means you will be harvesting from May to July, but beware of frost as this will damage the young plants.
Second Earlies Seed Potatoes should be planted from February to April for harvesting in June onwards.
If you don’t have a lot of space in your garden for seed potatoes then you should concentrate on the earlier types because they can be planted closer together (30–40 cm apart in rows that are approx 40–50 cm apart) and are less likely to suffer from blight and other disease.
Early Seed Potatoes are ready 15–16 weeks after planting.
Maincrop Seed Potatoes are the most common varieties and although they take up the most space in the garden they are the best varieties to store.
The traditional planting time for Maincrop Seed Potatoes is anytime after St Patrick's Day, 17th March and these can be harvested 18–20 weeks after planting (August through to late September).
Be careful to store your potatoes correctly in a cool dry place to prevent them from going bad.
There are a few basic tips that will help ensure you have a healthy potato crop:
Don’t plant tomato plants next to your potatoes as they are affected by the same blight,
Always remove infected or dead potato plants from the garden
And for sure results, plant a blight resistant variety such as Sarpo
Your potatoes are ready when they start to flower – harvest and enjoy.