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30/01/2014 at 18:46

I have a large veg garden in the house we bought in December, this year, we'll be focusing on getting rid of the cleaver and general maintenance (fixing rotten greenhouse, making compost etc); I want to view the garden through the summer to see what it offers before I decide what I want to do with it (I've noticed hundreds of bulbs when I've been weeding but have no idea what they are).

Sorry, the question...

I've read that you can grow potatoes easily to enrich the soil (ready for planting a wider range next year). If so, where do I get seed potatoes from, how long does it take to 'chit' them and do I leave them indoors? I've watched the video on here but I'm still unclear. Thanks.

30/01/2014 at 19:02

You can buy seed pots online from a number of reputable companies.  If you are not fussed about the variety, Garden Centres have them available now. For a new plot, they are good for breaking up the soil ready for next year.

Once you have your seed pots, they need to be kept in a light but frost free place.  Put them in a tray, with the eyes facing upwards and they will start to sprout.  Once the danger of frost is past, you can plant them outside in your bed.  Depending on the variety you have chosen, you may want to restrict the "sprouts" to 2 or 3 on each tuber.

30/01/2014 at 19:09

Hi Rachael, you can get seed potatoes online or from garden centres and even places like Wilkinsons.  There is no real need to chit potatoes - trials have shown that while it can give a slightly earlier crop, unchitted potatoes grow perfectly well anyway.

Potatoes don't actually enrich the soil but are said to "help break it up", improving the soil structure.  My thinking on that one is that you dig the soil to plant them, then earth them up as they are growing and finally have another good dig to harvest your crop.  That's a lot of cultivation and probably explains why they "help to break-up the soil"!

 

30/01/2014 at 19:49
No expert wrote (see)

Sow earlies in late March, cover from late frost.

Sow second earlies mid to late April.

Sow maincrop late April to mid May.

Hope this is of help.

As bob says there is no need to chit potatoes at all.

Another great thing about potatoes is they quickly cover up the groung and supress weeds.

30/01/2014 at 20:11

And they taste good,

30/01/2014 at 20:52
Thanks for all of the advice folks. No expert- am I right in assuming you sow in three rounds? When you say light but frost free, would a greenhouse be okay? There are a few missing panes so it is pretty cold.
30/01/2014 at 21:10

We have bought our seed pots today and they are 'Jelly' A variety we haven't been able to buy before, but have had them to eat  from a well know super market. These are most tastiest pots I have ever had. Can't wait to get them growing... but the rain oh the rain!!!

30/01/2014 at 22:29

I'm guessing rain is bad (sorry, I'm a total novice). Where did you buy yours from? Are there any tips for what to look for in a seeding potato?

30/01/2014 at 22:52

Yes, if you can actually see what you are buying then avoid any that already have shoots longer than 1/4" (5mm) as these have been kept in too warm a place.  Also avoid any that are soft or look shrunken or crinkly.  A good seed potato at this time of the year should be firm and have tiny buds in the eyes rather than developed shoots.

30/01/2014 at 22:56

PS, as to your earlier question regarding frost, it would be risky to put them in a greenhouse with missing panes at the moment.  Better would be in an unheated room of your house by a window.  If you don't have such a place, the greenhouse will have to do but cover them with some garden fleece which will keep the frost off of them.

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