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Seed potatoes and mice


by Pippa Greenwood

I normally chit potatoes in the greenhouse, but after last year's potato massacre I felt that putting the tubers rose-end-up in trays would be rather like condemning them to the chopping block.


Seed potatoesI've only just got around to chitting seed potatoes. Many of this year's spuds were given to me for my birthday by my kids in February. I normally chit them in the greenhouse, but after last year's potato massacre I felt that putting the tubers rose-end-up in trays would be rather like condemning them to the chopping block.

The culprits responsible for last year's massacre and this year's delay are of course, mice. They nibbled all the shoots off the potatoes, dramatically reducing the yield. So this year I have come up with a solution to the furry problem. I place the trays of seed potatoes on raised platforms, standing each tray on top of a large, plastic flowerpot, well away from anything my little rodent co-habitees can climb or jump from. This has been a great success.

While I'm on the subject of chitting potatoes, I've been disappointed with the state of this year's tubers. It seems that, these days, many garden centres only stock large nets of seed potatoes from one supplier. In previous years, I've bought them from seed catalogues or other garden centre brands and one bag of them filled a large seed tray. This is no longer the case. The spuds are now only available in 2.5kg bags but there is still not enough of them to fill my trays. What's more, this year I had to dispose of up to four diseased tubers per net. Next year I'll be more organised and buy them from the seed catalogues.

I would also advise any first-time potato growers to ignore the growing instructions on some potato bags. As anyone who has tried to earth up potatoes with a trowel instead of a rake or draw hoe, or harvest them with a spade rather than a fork, will surely agree.



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Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2007 at 00:00

I got mine from R H S wisley.the early potatoes were from thomson & morgan 2kg sacks problem was that you got a few large ones and tiddly ones, not even half a tray, far from happy.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2007 at 00:00

I have left mine on a window sill, but there is some kind of grey fur around some of the shoots.as a first time grower i am guessing this isn't right, but could do with some advice.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2007 at 00:00

Gardeners' World Web User 06/03/2008 at 16:00

I love growing spuds, can you use those berries on the haulms, they look like tomatoes, do you put each seed in the ground.

Gardeners' World Web User 06/03/2008 at 22:01

I got all my seed potatoes at our local garden centre (Busy Bees, Ryde, I.O.W.). I got Kestrel, Charlotte, and Desiree, and have been very pleased with them. They more than filled a seed tray and were very healthy. It looks like yet another reason to be happy that I am living here! The price also compared very favourably with what I'd have paid mail order, and there was no heavy postage to pay either.

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