The Potato is the main source of nutrients for a balanced diet. Potatoes have everything you need – they are full of vitamins and nutrients, and best of all they are low in calories, contain no cholesterol and are naturally fat-free!Fabulous! You couldn’t ask for more! And the best thing is, they’re easy to grow – trust me, I grew several varieties last year and I struggle to remember to feed my houseplant!
The first thing to do is to decide on which variety you want to grow – First Earlies, Second Earlies or Maincrops. Harvesting your potato crop depends on when the seed was planted, the weather and on the variety of seed potatoes.
First Earlies: harvest in 65-100 days, normally June/July. When the first flowers appear on the foliage this is a sign that there are edible tubers beneath which are ready to be harvested.
Second Earlies/Salad Potatoes: harvest in 100-130 days, normally July/August.
Maincrop: harvest in 125-180 days, normally September onwards. Allow the foliage to die back, allowing the skin to set, and then harvest. These can be stored if lifted in dry conditions. Store in hessian sacks in a cool, dark, frost-free area.
Blight is a disease that affects crops in mild, moist weather conditions during the mid-summer to autumn period. Luckily, potato blight occurs too late in the season to affect your crop of first early seed potatoes, however special care and attention must be taken when growing second early or maincrop varieties.
How to spot Blight
Small, dark patches will first appear on the leaves, these patches may then spread to the stem of the plant thus infecting the tubers. The infected tubers will then start to rot. Unfortunately infected tubers cannot be saved, but all is not lost! You can save the remainder of your crop by spraying all plants with a solution of either Copper Mixture or Fruit & Vegetable Disease Control (formerly known as Dithane).
Not enough space in the garden? Then how about Grow-in-a-Bag!
Growing seed potatoes in containers such as tubs, barrels and potato bags is becoming more and more popular. Not only is it popular, its easy too! We should know, all the girls at Trefhedyn grew seed potatoes in ‘Spud Bags last year and produced a variety of scrumptious Spuds.
First step, place a layer of compost (6inches deep), we recommend ’Arthur Bowers Potato Compost’, at the bottom of the bag then place 5-6 chitted seed potatoes in the soil (2inches deep). Then wait for the magic to begin! In about 7-10 days (longer if the seed potatoes have not been chitted) small shoots will start to appear, wait for these to reach 6 inches tall then cover the base of the plants with a layer of compost, leaving the tips showing. Repeat this process every 4 inches until the shoots reach the top of the bag. Be sure to keep the soil well watered at every level. Every layer should be kept moist, do not leave to dry out. Once the shoots reach the top of the bag leave the shoots to produce a wonderful mass of foliage, not forgetting to water and feed regularly. We recommend feeding with Doff Liquid Growmore.
The first earlies will be ready to harvest in June/July when flowers appear on the plants. The second earlies will be ready in July/August. Maincrops will be ready in August/September/October, wait for the foliage to die back(this allows the skin to set) and then harvest.
My trick was to tip out the contents of the bag and have fun rummaging through the soil counting how many wonderful potatoes I could find. Enjoy!
Below is a list of all the varieties we currently have in-stock, all varieties are sold at £1.99 per kilo, 3 kgs for £5.00. Bulk quantities are also available, 25kg for £22
|First Earlies||Second Earlies||Maincrop||Salads|
Belle De Fontenay
|Dunluce||Catriona||Cabaret||Pink Fir Apple|
|Duke of York||Charlotte||Desiree||Ratte|
|International Kidney||Marfona||Kerrs Pink|
|Lady Christl||Maris Peer||King Edward|
|Maris Bard||Nadine||Lady Balfour|
|Pentland Javelin||Piccolo Star||Majestic|
|Red Duke of York||Saxon||
|Ulster Prince||Pentland Crown|