So, its 2011 and there’s going to be plenty to do in your garden this year. What better way to start your gardening year than to plant some potatoes that will make your salads this summer that extra bit special?

We’ve got dozens of tasty varieties of potatoes you can grow. My personal favourites are Rooster, and Desiree which are both really traditional and have a lovely creamy taste. But there are loads more that you can choose from that come under 3 main categories of when they crop.

Earlies – take the least time to grow before cropping but also take the least space, so if you have a small area to grow your potatoes these might be a good idea.
Second Earlies – Take 16-17 weeks to mature so should be ready from the end of June to early August.
Main crops – take 18-20 weeks so they can be lifted from July through to October.

Chitting – Before you plant your potatoes, its best to get them sprouting a bit to give them the best chance of growing properly. Place your potatoes in trays with the rounded end facing up in plenty of natural light to allow them to grow. The potatoes will then be ready to plant when they are about 1.5 -2.5cm long.

Planting – One great thing about potatoes is you can plant them almost anywhere – tubs, bags and of course in the ground. If you don’t plant them in the ground use soil free compost so your potatoes won’t get any soil born diseases such as scab. When it comes to planting, wait until the soil has warmed up a bit, usually in mid-March and dig a trench about 4 inches deep to plant your potatoes in. Plant your early potatoes about 30cm apart with 50cm between the rows and your second earlies and main crops about 38cm apart with 75cm between the rows.

If you’re thinking of growing potatoes or anything else in your veg garden and you need some advice please don’t hesitate to call: 01327 34126.

Ashley Warren

Ashley Warren has lived and loved horticulture and agriculture all his life; he had his first greenhouse at the age of 10 and his first cow when he was 16. He started landscaping in 1984 mainly in Milton Keynes and then all over the country. He moved to Daventry Road Farmhouse in 1987 and has developed Bell Plantation Garden Centre in Towcester, Northants over the last 30 years.

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