A few hints and tips on choosing and growing your potatoes.
1) Choose certified seed potatoes, don’t be tempted to use those bought in the supermarket, they may look good but can contain hidden diseases which although do not affect the eating qualities will certainly affect the growing. Seed potatoes will have been specially grown and inspected for very very low levels of disease.
2) Decide how much room you have to devote to growing them. If it is only a small space, or you are growing in pots or containers, choose First earlies. These will give you a crop in 10-12 weeks! They are the delicious new potatoes and most are waxy (do not break up on boiling) unless you leave them in the ground too long!
Dig and eat once they start flowering. Second earlies take a little longer to grow giving a bigger crop and many of our delicious salad potatoes fall into thus category. Maincrop potatoes are the ones for storing, they need to grow for 18-24 weeks and therefore use valuable space for a long period, only grow if you have the room!
3) Chitting – the act of getting the potato tuber to shoot. Must be done in a cool, LIGHT place, not under the bed! Essential with First Earlies, not so important with the rest.
More to follow in the next blog, including what varieties to choose.