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How to grow Potatoes


PotatoesGrowing potatoes can be done by gardeners of all skill levels. Potatoes are a versatile crop that can be used in a variety of dishes and they are relatively easy to grow. One of the great pleasures of growing your own is the early new potatoes (which you can no longer buy in the shops). The taste is out of this world - boiled and served with a generous dollop of butter. Even if you do not have a garden you can grow a few in containers in your yard or on your patio.

This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to grow potatoes.

Choose a site for your potato patch

Potatoes prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Choose a sunny location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Avoid planting potatoes in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding, as this can lead to rot.

Prepare the soil

Prepare the soil by removing any weeds, rocks, or other debris. Add compost or aged manure to the soil to improve its fertility and texture. Potatoes prefer a slightly acidic soil pH of between 5.0 and 6.0.

Choose your potato seed

Choose seed potatoes that are certified disease-free. Seed potatoes can be purchased from garden centres, nurseries or online. If the seed potatoes are large you can cut them into pieces that are about 2 inches square, making sure that each piece has at least one "eye" or sprout.

Plant your potatoes

Plant your seed potatoes in the soil, spacing them about 12 inches apart and 4 inches deep. Cover the seed potatoes with soil, and water them well. As the potato plants grow, mound soil up around the stems to keep the developing tubers covered and prevent them from turning green and becoming toxic.

Water and fertilise

Potatoes need consistent moisture to produce good yields, so make sure to water them regularly. Avoid overwatering, which can lead to rot. Fertilise your potatoes with a balanced fertiliser that is high in potassium, to encourage healthy tuber development.

Control pests and diseases

Potatoes are prone to a variety of pests and diseases, including potato beetles, aphids, blight and scab. To control pests, remove any eggs or larvae by hand and use insecticidal soap to deter adult insects. To prevent diseases, practice crop rotation, keep the soil well-drained and avoid overwatering.

New potatoesHarvest your potatoes

Potatoes are usually ready to harvest when the plants have died back and turned yellow. Gently dig up the potatoes, being careful not to damage them with a shovel or fork. Allow the potatoes to dry in the sun for a few hours, and then store them in a cool, dark, and dry place.



New potatoes are harvested before the plants have fully matured, typically around 60 to 90 days after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions. They are harvested when the plants are still green and the tubers are still small and tender.

The best time to harvest new potatoes is when the plants have begun to flower. This indicates that the tubers have reached a good size, and the plants are still actively growing. To harvest new potatoes, gently dig up the soil around the base of the plant with a garden fork, being careful not to damage the tubers.

After harvesting, new potatoes should be eaten or stored within a few days, but they do not store as well as mature potatoes. They can be boiled, roasted, or fried and are delicious served with butter and fresh herbs.

It is important to note that not all potato varieties produce new potatoes, so be sure to choose a variety that is specifically bred for early harvests. Additionally, growing conditions such as temperature, moisture and soil fertility can also affect the timing of the potato harvest.

Growing potatoes can be a fun and rewarding activity for gardeners of all skill levels. By following these simple steps, you can grow healthy and delicious potatoes in your own garden. With a little bit of effort and care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this versatile and nutritious crop.

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