The Easy Guide to Growing New Potatoes
Posted by Paraic Horkan
Home grown Irish seed potatoes are simply the best. Just add butter and a touch of salt and nothing tastes better. They're a staple food in the Irish diet, hence every family should know how to grow their own.
And guess what, the good news is growing your own potatoes is very easy and they taste great. Here we outline how to grow your own potatoes.
When to plant Potatoes
First Earlies: Plant mid-March and harvest in early July. These take around 90 days to grow.
Second Earlies: Plant in early April. The second earlies take around 100 days and will be ready to harvest in July.
Main Crop: Plant mid to late April and harvest after 135 days.
Blight Resistant varieties are also available
If you are growing them in polytunnels or greenhouses, start chitting now and sow in a couple of weeks.
If you are planning on planting them outside, start chitting at the end of January and plant out around St Patricks weekend (frost dependent).
But once the stock is gone it's gone, so be sure to get the variety you want - first early, second early, Maincrop is available now.
What is chitting?
Chitting is when the potatoes are prepared for planting. They are usually placed on a tray in a bright cool area and left to sprout.
They ‘eyes’ of the potatoes will sprout, but it is good practise to remove small one and let the strong sprouts continue to grow. When the shoot reach about 3cm or more they can be planted.
How To Grow Your Own Potatoes:
What you will need:
- Seed potatoes
- Multi-purpose compost
- Large pot
- Vegtable Patch
Simple Steps to Follow:
Potatoes are a healthy and nutritious food source. The best part is they are very easy to grow, requiring little to no maintenance.
They can be grown in even the smallest section of soil in the ground or ideal for growing in bags or pots. If growing in a pot follow the simple steps below to grow your own potatoes:
- Choose the size of pot you will grow your potatoes in, dependent on the size of the crop you will plant.
Ensure it has several holes in the bottom for drainage.
- Add multi-purpose compost to the container and then add potato seeds, shoot facing up. Plant potatoes in rows at a spacing of 30cm (12").
In large pots, you can cover this row of potatoes and plant another row on top,(triffle layering) Cover potato seeds with multi-purpose compost.
- Next, water well. Place your pot in a warm, well lit environment.
- When the potato shoots reaches 20cm (8"), cover with multi-purpose compost .
As the potato shoots grow continue adding multi-purpose compost to the container, ensuring the shoots are near covered.
- If planting in the goriund, weed between rows and keep potato plants well watered throughout the growing season.
- Once crops are ready for harvest, empty the pot, clean off the compost and enjoy the spuds!
Worried about potato blight? Throughout the year, Met Eitean will deliver a potato blight warning. Blight is a fungus that is carried on the wind and can potentially damage your crop.
During damp, humid, windy conditions blight might become an issue. Once the warning is released potatoes can be treated to prevent the damaging fungus taking hold.
Need a hand growing your spuds?
Just contact your local store where one of our helpful and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have.