There are thousands of potato varieties, each with distinct colours, shapes and flavour. As Ireland’s most well known veg it is worth growing potatoes even if you only have the smallest of spaces.
Seed potatoes aren’t really seeds at all. They are full-size potatoes that are allowed to start producing shoots, which you often see when you’ve stored potatoes for too long.
If your potatoes are not spouting keep them in a bright, warm and dry place for a few weeks to allow the shoots to form.
- A good shoot is dark in colour, short and nobbled.
- A bad one is long and light in colour.
WHEN TO PLANT POTATOES:
Cold climate gardeners like us plant potatoes mid to late spring.
See also: GAP’s “Power of Growing Your Own” guide
Spuds are divided into 3 growing groups depending on the time it takes for potato plants to mature:
- First earlies – 90 days. Plant mid March. Harvest late June/July
- Second earlies – 110 days. Plant early April. Harvest July
- Main crop – 135 days. Plant mid to late April
- Late Main crop – 160 days. Plant mid to late April
HOW TO PLANT POTATOES:
Plant the potato 10 to 15cm deep into good fertile soil. Place the potato with the side with most ‘eyes’ or little shoots facing up and back fill the drills with the soil you removed.
- Earlies: 25cm /10”between plants, 50 cm/20” between rows
- Main crop: 35cm between plants, 75cm between rows
When shoots start to form earth up (pull the soil up around the shoots to just under the top of plant) this prevents the light getting to the potato and causing it to go green.
Ensuring a good amount of soil covering the potatoes make it less likely blight spores will wash down and affect the tubers.