Grow your Own: Potatoes

Seed potatoes should be sowed in April. Very large tubers, if used for seed, should be cut into pieces about the size of a hen's egg, and at least one 'eye' per piece. When tubers are cut, it is best to leave them for a day or two so that they dry up and callous over.

The rows should be about 2 feet apart, or, if space is limited, three feet apart so that later crops can be planted in-between, before the earlier ones are taken out.

Although little is gained by allowing too much space, more is lost by crowding them. If too close, root crops are liable to produce too much haulm and not enough root. Two feet row to row, and fifteen inches from plant to plant, is a good average.

A main crop potato may be planted from about the end of March to the end of April. Smaller plantings can be made until midsummer.

When they have grown 8-10 inches high, a little earth should be drawn up, just sufficient to cover any tubers which are growing near the surface, so that they don't go green. Do not earth up too much; it produces lots of leaves but does not increase the yield of tubers.

Ground used for potatoes needs to be well-drained.

Irrigation is better supplied from underneath rather than from above. This helps suppress foliage blight.

Paraphrased from the Beeton book on Garden Management, published about a century ago..

Note from ND - I have found that some years, it is worth planting seed potatoes up to the end of the first week in August. (Leicestershire, England)

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