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Margaret's Blog

 

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Growing Potatoes & Harvesting

Potatoes are the backbone of any vegetable garden. You get them in relatively early and apart from some earthing up and keeping an eye out for blight there is very little to do.
There are so many different potato varieties, usually described as early, second early and maincroppotatoes. These names indicate when they crop and also give you an idea of the space you'll need, how closely and when they can be planted.
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First Early :

First early potatoes are perfect if you want to grow small, new potatoes and should be planted from the end of February to late May. They'll be ready to harvest in about 10 weeks from the planting date. It's a good idea to 'chit' these varieties before planting - this produces long shoots from which the plants will grow. First early potatoes are ideal for growing in potato patio planters or containers. If you are short on Space and would love to Grow Potatoes,  The PotatoPot is ideal for you.

A few of our most popular First earlies are 

Sharpes Express,: ‘Sharpe’s Express’ is a favourite early in Ireland for good reason. It is unusual amongst ‘earlies’ in that it is a floury potato . Ideal for steaming

HomeGaurd :  a superior potato with excellent flavour

Pentland Javeiln: A lovely soft waxy-textured new potato with white skins and flesh that is ideal for boiling as a salad or new potato

Other Varities: Aaran Pilot, Duke of York , Epicure, Maris Bard, Red Duke of York,  Rocket, Orla 

 It's also worth remembering that earlies are less likely to encounter pest problems as they're lifted so much earlier in the year. 


SECOND EARLIES
Second earlies take 16 to 17 weeks to mature after planting, so you should be able to harvest them from very late June through to the start of August. Kestrel - An exhibition winner – with outstanding taste  British Queen : This  variety is over 100 years old and still highly prized for its yield, shape, floury texture and delicious flavour.

Other Varities : Caitriona , Kestrel, Record, Wilja, International Kidney , Charlotter

Maincrop 
Maincrops are ready 18 to 20 weeks after planting, so they can be lifted usually from July through to October. Maincrops take up the most space in the garden, but they tend to be the best varieties to grow if you want some for storage. Sarpo Mira : Blight resistant winner:  unprecedented blight resistance, good slug resistance and it grows well in a wide range of soils. Potato'Sarpo Mira' produces huge yields of tasty, floury tubers that have a long storage potential. 
Pink Fir Apple – Wonderful nutty flavour – RHS Award
Cara : An allotment Favourite:  Excellent for baking and Chipping. Rooster: the good old favourite in Ireland . Its the most widely grown potato in Ireland Ideal for the novice gardener
Other varities : Golden wonder, Kerrs Pink, King edward,


How to chit : Chitting simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout before planting.. Start Chitting Now . Each seed potato has a more rounded, blunt end that has a number of 'eyes'.  Stand the tubers with the blunt end uppermost in trays or old egg boxes, with plenty of natural light . Keep this room cool.   The potatoes are ready to be planted out when the shoots are 1.5-2.5cm (0.5-1in) long.
How to plantPlant your chitted potatoes when the soil has started to warm up, usually from ST PATRICKS DAY.  
Plant early potatoes about 30cm (12in) apart with 40-50cm (16-20in) between the rows, and second earlies and maincrops about 38cm (15in) apart with 75cm (30in) between the rows. 

Chitting potatoes

Handle your chitted tubers with care, gently setting them into the trench with the shoots pointing upwards, being careful not to break the shoots. Cover the potatoes lightly with soil. 
As soon as the shoots appear, earth up each plant by covering it with a ridge of soil so that the shoots are just buried. 
You need to do this at regular intervals and by the end of the season each plant will have a small mound around it 
Seed Potato

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