Making a start on growing

Posted in All posts, February, on

Whether they are chipped, roasted, baked, mashed or boiled and slathered in butter, there is no doubt that potatoes are delicious and growing up of Irish descent, I rarely remember a meal in our house without them in one form or another. This extremely popular vegetable is easy to grow and despite being a root vegetable with a sizeable root system can be grown in containers if you don’t have ample amounts of space in the garden.
Potatoes bought for planting are called ‘seed potatoes’ and are available to buy now. We always find that the early types benefit from being ‘chitted’ before planting as it gives them a head start. This simply means allowing the ‘eyes’ to sprout before the tubers are planted out. We place the seed potatoes in egg boxes or seed trays with the end with the most eyes upwards and position in a cool, well-lit place such as a windowsill. They begin to develop ‘chits’ within a few weeks and are then ready to be planted out.
The time to plant outside is early spring for early varieties and mid-spring for maincrops. We dig over and weed the soil and dig a drill about 15cm deep and place the potatoes along the bottom, spaced at about 45cm apart. We cover over with soil to create a slight mound (they will need ‘earthing up’ as they grow to prevent the tubers becoming exposed to sunlight, which makes them green and inedible) and water well. The early varieties are generally ready to be lifted once their flowers develop in early summer. 
There is a great array of different potato varieties available in all colours, shapes and sizes and choosing which ones to grow on our allotment was not easy. We have gone for some favourites as well as a new one for us, the ‘Pink Fir Apple’, an heirloom variety that is reported to be delicious in salads. Do you grow potatoes? Which are your favourite varieties?
Thanks for reading,