How to grow potatoes

How to grow potatoes
    When it comes to vegetables, few are more versatile than the humble spud.

Since its introduction to Europe from the Americas by the Spanish in the second half of the 16th century, the potato has formed a complement to all manner of culinary delights – and an essential staple food for many.

And while it's easy to buy a bag of spuds from your local supermarket, nothing beats the taste of freshly-grown potatoes.

If you're keen on growing your own spuds, now's the time to start thinking about buying seed tubers. 

A wide range of different varieties is available. Harvesting them while they are still young is recommended, as this is when they taste best.

Potatoes may be easy to grow but unfortunately they are susceptible to slugs, eelworm, viruses and other disorders. They can be grown in raised beds, purpose-made growing bags or big pots if space is limited.

Tubers first need to be sprouted or 'chitting' by placing them on a tray in a warm, well-lit room or greenhouse. They are ready to plant when they are 3 cm long. 

Plant them in the first week of March, 5 cm deep, 30 cm apart with 45-60 cm between rows. A small amount of fertiliser or dried poultry manure pellets should be added to the trench before the tubers are covered. Horticultural fleece can be used to protect the emerging crop.

Shoots should be partially buried, resulting in a series of ridged rows separated by shallow trenches. This protects them from the cold and encourages tuber development.

If you want to make sure your crop gets the best possible start, why not consider one of our world-famous Mantis cultivators and tillers?

Growing your crop in a container involves quarter-filling a pot with compost and topping this up as the shoots extend, until the container is full.

New potatoes should be harvested as soon as they are ready to eat, while maincrop varieties should be harvested in September.

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