Potatoes are hugely versatile and are a staple ingredient of many meals in one form or another – boiled, mashed, chipped or baked. Freshly dug and lightly boiled with mint or, cooled and eaten with salads ; they just can’t be beaten.
There are numerous ways of growing potatoes.
It is vital with early varieties and a good idea with maincrops to chit the seed tubers first before planting; this means allowing them to produce sturdy shoots. Buy your seed potatoes in late January/February and stand them rose end up (the rose end has the most eyes) in egg boxes or similar in a light, frost-free place. The tubers are ready to plant when the shoots are about 2.5cm (1in) long.
Once planted, when the stems are about 23cm (9in) high, start earthing up by carefully drawing soil up to the stems and covering to produce a flat-topped ridge about 15cm (6in) high. This can be done little and often or in one go.
Newly emerging foliage is susceptible to frost damage. You can prevent this by earthing up the soil around the shoots or by covering them with fleece.
It is also possible to grow them in large containers. Line the bottom 15cm (6in) of the container with potting compost and plant the seed tuber just below this. As the new stems start growing, keep adding compost until the container is full.
Keep crops well watered in dry weather.
A liquid feed of a balanced general fertiliser every fortnight can help increase yields.