In my last post I thought that I told you everything you ever wanted to know about potatoes but trusy Fiona, our veg buyer has come up with even more useful information.
Did you know that there is more vitamin C in a portion of new potatoes than in an apple? And there’s more fibre in a jacket potato than in a bowl of bran flakes.
So, potatoes are healthy to eat. But even better are the health benefits that growing potatoes brings. From digging the ground, adding manure, planting, ridging up and finally…the most satisfying bit, digging the freshest, tastiest potatoes that are the fruits of your labour! Within minutes these can be cooked and served to the whole family with a knob of butter and fresh mint. Fast food couldn’t be easier! And, you know exactly were your food has come from.
How to grow potatoes
The MOST important thing to do is buy the best quality seed potatoes that you can find, at Suttons we have a fantastic assortment of varieties that will suit any sized garden. When they arrive in the post, unpack them immediately and lay them in a garden tray, or even better an old egg box so that each potato has support. Then leave in a cool dark place. Shoots will start to appear on the potatoes within days. This means that you will have chitted your potatoes.
When all the risks of frost have passed, you can plant your chitted potato seed. The soil needs to be well dug with added manure or potato fertiliser. Then you simply have to dig a hole approximately twice the depth of the tuber. Pop the potato in, and cover over, it couldn’t be easier! As soon as you see shoots appearing through the soil, you are going to have to earth your potatoes up. This is quite simple, using a garden hoe you need to pull all the soil around the new shoot up to cover the shoot. Sounds crazy, but this will improve ventilation and drainage and also combat weeds at the same time! Carry on doing this every week until the leaves get too tall to be able to continue.
Now you have to wait…why not plant a few mint plants so that they are ready to pick with your first harvest of potatoes? A little watering will also encourage your potatoes to provide bigger harvests!
The exciting bit… depending on the type of potato you have chosen to grow you could have waited 10 or 20 weeks for this! So get your fork out…time to go digging! Ensuring you dig widely enough around your potatoes to ensure none get damaged, and deep enough to make sure you get every last potato for your supper!