How do I plant my seed potatoes?
Posted by Suttons Staff on 23 December 2014 10:14 AM
Unpack your seed potatoes and place them in trays (an egg box works well or you can use a wooden tray) in a light, airy frost free place to develop sprouts prior to planting. This will enable your seed potatoes to grow much faster once they are in the ground. The pre-sprouting is a process called chitting.
Dig a trench about 10cm (4") deep, using our Garden Ridger is the easiest way to do this. Place the seed potatoes at the bottom with the sprouts facing upwards. Fill the trench to cover your seed potatoes and a top dressing of Potato Fertiliser can be applied to boost growth and cropping.
As shoots emerge it is important to "earth up" (cover with soil) to protect them from frost, which will cause the shoots to blacken and delay cropping.
During prolonged periods of dry weather you will want to water plentifully to enable tubers to form.
When stems have grown to 25cm (10") above ground level they should be "earthed up" again to prevent the tubers near the surface turning green.
When to lift will be dependent on the type of potatoes you have planted, please see the table below.
Lift early potatoes when the flowers begin to open and the tubers are the size of large eggs. Maincrop potatoes should be left at least two weeks after the leaves and stems have withered, cut the stems just above soil level to prevent disease such as blight getting into the crop.
Lift gently from underneath with a Potato Fork or with our Potato Harvesting Scoop. The lifted potatoes should be left on the surface of the soil for a couple of hours to allow the skins to cure before being stored in paper or Hessian Sacks. Potatoes stored in plastic bags will sweat and begin to rot very quickly.