It’s well into April and we are only just starting our potatoes. First Into the allotment were some Maris Piper bought from Lidl. 20 seed potatoes were put into the allotment on 1st April, after chitting at home. We have another 12 waiting to go in. Maris Piper are a Main Crop popular English potato grown since the 60s, They are purple flowered and are one of the most well known and most popular varieties on sale today. More Maris Piper potatoes are grown than any other variety in the UK. This variety has a golden skin and creamy white flesh with a fluffy texture. This makes it a versatile all rounder, great for chips and roast potatoes, but also good for mash and wedges. Update 22nd April and the last 12 Maris Piper have been planted at the allotment.
Today we bought Second Early Salad Potato Jazzy. This is new to us and looks very good. 29 seed potatoes cost £3.99 from Highdown Nursery in Sugarloaf Lane, Norton. The producers guarantee 35 potatoes per plant when grown in an 8 litre bag. However there are reports of up to 80 potatoes per plant. The small waxy tubers are said to be more versatile than Charlotte with good flavour. Good for boiling, mash, roasting or steaming, this new second early variety has been awarded an RHS AGM for its superb garden performance. Second early crops can be harvested approximately 13 weeks from planting when the foliage begins to turn yellow and die back. The first single potato was planted into a black flower bucket on 18th April. Two more black buckets prepared today Friday 27th April.
Plant potato crops from March. Prior to planting, chit the seed potatoes by setting them out in a cool, bright position to allow them to sprout. When growing in the ground avoid planting in soil where potatoes have grown for two years in succession to reduce the risk of disease. Prepare the planting area in a sheltered position in full sun on moist well drained soil. Dig in plenty of well rotted manure. Place the seed potatoes 4″ deep. When shoots reach 8″ earth up the soil around the shoots leaving just a few cm of green growth showing. Repeat this process after a further as required.
Where space is limited, try growing potatoes in potato bags on the patio.
- Fill an 8 litre potato bag to just below the top of the bag with good quality compost mixed with some well rotted manure.
- Carefully plunge a single chitted potato tuber into the compost with the shoots pointing upwards at a depth of 5″ from the soil surface.
- Place the bags in a sunny position and water regularly to keep the compost moist.
Rob and I have been watching a chap on YouTube whose channel is called ‘Home Grown Veg’. He recommends growing potatoes in plastic shopping carriers inside black cut flower buckets. We are definitely having a go at this this year.
- Making sure that the containers are clean and have sufficient drainage holes fill the carrier bag, which should be inside the bucket, one third full of multi purpose compost.
- Put one seed potato in and fill the bucket up to one inch from the top.
- Water well at this stage.
- Leave in a draught free sheltered place outdoors for ten weeks.
- After ten weeks, lift the carrier bag, roll down the sides, the soil should hold together by the roots, then harvest what potatoes you can find.
- lower the bag back into the pot.
- Repeat this at 13 weeks.
- The third lift will probably be the last one.
- Remember to keep the used compost, revitalising it with fish, blood and bone, and use the same bag and pot to grow some leeks in the same way.