Planting potatoes

Traditionally on our allotments potatoes are planted Easter Weekend.

In anticipation of this great annual event I took a few extra days leave which gave me a whole six days down the plot.

In reality we had five days of rain but on the one dry day we did have, I planted out this year’s potatoes. Hooray! Tradition triumphs!

Not so traditionally I’m approaching this year’s potatoes slightly differently in that I’ve decided to grow more first earlies and not grow a main crop.

Now we love a potato in our household but with a relatively small plot (only a quarter of the national average) main crop spuds take up a lot of space for a good few months and are pretty cheap to buy whereas new potatoes are a delicacy, are in the ground for less time and can be pretty pricey in the shops.

Varieties I’m growing

Regular readers will know that I’ve also been running an experiment to see just how much the crops I grow are worth financially. With this in mind I’ve taken the opportunity to grow a new variety that is not readily available in the supermarket and therefore would be more expensive to buy, Pink Fur. So the three varieties that I’m growing are Pink Fur, Red Duke of York and our annual favourite, Pentland Javelin.

Something to be grateful for

I think the main reason I was able to plant our spuds this weekend was because I took the decision to cover the ground last Autumn. Many of my neighbours plots are still far too waterlogged to disturb the heavy, lumpy, clay soil so this year it definitely paid off to cover. All I needed to do was remove the cover and lightly rake over the ground to dislodge any hibernating slugs.

A new approach

I also decided to plant up three bags in the polytunnel to take advantage of the extra heat. These should be the first ready to eat!

Planting

So here they are in all their splendor:

Nothing ground breaking here, in rows 45cm apart and 30cm between each potato. Note that the rows are slightly closer together than widely recommended but this is because I’m short on space!

Seeing as the weather has been so freaky (and we have had a flurry of snow since planting) I made sure I earthed up well. I don’t anticipate seeing any green shoots for a few weeks yet but I’ll keep one eye on the weather reports and whip out some fleece if Jack Frost comes calling!

So that’s it. In roughly 10 weeks I hope to be tasting the first spuds of the year.

If you’re also thinking of planting potatoes in bags, this is how I planted mine.

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