Tag Archives: Seed potatoes

Seed potatoes

Seed potatoes

Ever fancied eating your own home grown spuds and not sure how to do it? Wondered why you should are supposed to buy seed potatoes rather than plant your supermarket ones? Well let us shed some light for you…

Why shouldn’t you plant supermarket potatoes?

Your average potato from the supermarket will grow into a potato plant when planted. But it is far better to buy seed potatoes from a garden centre as they will be certified disease free. Seed potatoes were grown to be replanted. These tubers are supplied to you with the intention to grow more from them. They have been certified as disease free and the growers are inspected and their potatoes have a ‘plant licence’. This means that they reduce the risk of crop disease and soil damage. Whilst supermarket potatoes are perfectly fine for us when cooked, when planted they can introduce long-lasting disease to your soil (think Irish potato famine).

Another benefit of seed potatoes is that they are meant to produce high yields and quality plants.

What variety should I choose?

If you are new to growing potatoes, look on our handy labels for varieties that are easy to grow. A small 1kg taster bag is a good place to start and will give you a decent crop. You may want to choose two or three different varieties to extend your cropping period.

Finally, make sure you buy varieties that suit your cooking! Some varieties chip and roast well while others are better for boiling and mashing.

Remember our staff are always pleased to help you and will gladly advise on your selection.

I’ve heard that some potatoes are earlier than others

Potatoes are classified into three groups…

First Early Varieties – These potato varieties will give you the first harvest of new potatoes of the summer. Think small salad potatoes.

Second Early Varieties – Second earlies will be ready to harvest just after the first earlies, approximately 2 weeks down the line.

Maincrop Varieties – Maincrop potatoes are the ones you leave to mature, so you can lift them at the end of the season and store them for use during winter. Think crispy roasties with your Christmas meal.

Think about where are you going to grow the potatoes. Maincrop potatoes tend to take up a fair amount of space so if you have an allotment or large plot these are perfect. If, however, you are short of space and would rather grow potatoes in a container or potato grow bag then look out for first or second earlies. Equally if you want to harvest your crop in summer when they tend to be expensive in the shops, buy first earlies.

Seed potatoes won’t store until next year so only buy what you intend to plant this year.

Chitting!

Before you plant your potatoes we recommend you chit them (please note spelling – we are not being rude)! February is the best time to start chitting potatoes, which basically is encouraging them to sprout before planting. This makes them grow quicker and leads to a bumper harvest.

If you have only a few potato tubers, line them up in egg cartons. If you’re doing lots of chitting, put them  in open boxes with something like bubble wrap or newspaper in between to keep them upright. Place your box in a naturally light place slightly warm like a porch or unheated greenhouse.

Keep an eye on your potatoes, you need to wait for strong, short green shoots to appear (usually in 4-6 weeks) that are about 2-3 cms long from the eyes of each tuber. If you want to maximize the size of your potatoes when they crop, rub off all but three or four at the top end of the tuber before planting out. If you leave all the shoots intact you’ll end up with lots of smaller potatoes.

Now simply follow the instructions on your packet and plant your potatoes. Good luck.

Tammy Falloon - Managing Director and fourth generation family owner

Tips from Tammy – January

January can be a harsh month and one where we don’t venture out into the garden very much, if at all. But it’s also the time of year when gardens are planned and we can start to get some of those early seeds on their way, ready to provide food for our tables or flowers for our gardens and homes.

Tips from Tammy – January

Get some early veg off to a flying start – it’s time to ‘chit’ your potatoes. Chitting means getting the tuber to start sprouting. It’s quick and simple to do. Buy some healthy seed potato tubers, there are some lovely floors and types of potato to chose from. You then place the tubers into an egg carton or egg tray with the eye of the potato facing upwards. Leave them in a cool light place (a garage or porch) but just ensure it is fairly light.

Storm damage?

The recent storms we have experienced may have damaged your garden plants. It is worth checking your tree ties and stakes, replacing and tightening where necessary. If you have newly planted trees and shrubs, that are still establishing themselves, it is also worth firming them back in the ground if they have been lifted by the winds or frost heave. You can protect vulnerable plants from further storms by erecting temporary netting windbreaks if no natural shelter exists. Additionally if hard frosts are forecast, create a cover of horticultural fleece for the plant’s head and protect roots with a thick dry mulch of chunky chip bark, which will also suppress weed growth in the spring.
When you pop in to see us, bring the name or a picture of your plant and we’ll help you find the best protection option.
Seed potatoes

Growing seed potatoes

Seed potatoes are now available to buy from our garden centres, but do you know how to achieve a bumper crop? Keep reading for our handy guide to growing seed potatoes.

Chitting (yes really…this is a proper horticultural term not a typo)!

January is too early to plant the seed potatoes outside as they’ are not frost hardy. Planting out should be done from mid to late spring, but you can start the potato growth now. This process is called chitting (careful how you say it) and it helps ensure better and bigger crops in the summer. This is especially great for early varieties, but it will also improve the performance of main crops too.

When you get the tubers home, stand them upright with the eye-end, that’s the end with the most buds or eyes as they’re often called, uppermost. An egg box is particularly useful as it will help keep the potatoes stable and upright. You then need to then put them somewhere reasonably cool, but frost free and in good light.

Within a few weeks the tubers will start to sprout and produce young shoots from the eyes. It’s important that the tubers are kept in good light otherwise the shoots become long and thin. You want strong, healthy, squat shoots that reach a couple of inches high by planting out time. Then when it comes to planting out, always add plenty of organic matter to the soil plus a good dressing of a general granular fertiliser.

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Growing potatoes can be done in all gardens including small patios. Many of our team have grown potatoes successfully in sacks and large pots. We sell small bags of seed potatoes as well as larger ones and with lots of varieties to choose from all that’s left to plan are your potato recipes!