There’s still time – just, to get another crop in the ground to enjoy.

Potatoes are the most generous of all crops and will pay you back many times over.

In fact, there is still time to plant them with the seed potatoes able to catch up during the summer and provide a wonderful late harvest. 

If those harvests do come later, they will still be as productive and more importantly enjoyable. 

When you plant later there’s no need to chit seed potatoes (chitting is leaving them in the light indoors to sprout) because the later soil will still be warm.

Leftover maincrop seed potatoes will still grow well. You can use supermarket sprouting potatoes, but you run the risk of the crops being more variable. The technique known as earthing up is the best way to increase your harvest. All this means is that every time the green growth reaches about 20cms tall use a spade or hoe to pull up some of the surrounding soil to cover the stems and protect the growing tubers. 

As well as helping the tubers to form it is a process which ensures any near the surface do not turn green and become inedible. This will happen if the sunlight gets to the potatoes and exposes them to the light. 

In dry periods potatoes will need regular watering especially if you are growing them in a pot or container. This encourages the new potatoes to swell. This helps retain moisture mulch between the rows, grass cuttings are useful for this if you haven’t used a weedkiller on the lawn. 

How late can you leave planting?

Certainly, early June will give the potatoes chance to form grow and swell and you will more than likely have a wonderful early to late autumn crop -much later than you thought possible.

Three ways to start a crop

Traditional trench

The well rehearsed way of planting potatoes at the bottom of a trench which is 10cms to 15cms deep covering them back over then adding an extra mount of soil. Trench depth can vary and should be shallower for salad varieties such as ”Pink Fir Apple’.

In containers

A rewarding way of growing potatoes. Plant each potato into a 30cms x 30cms container with drainage holes. Fill the base with 10cms of garden soil, lay the seed potatoes on top and cover with 10cms soil. As the plants grow cover them by adding more soil or compost. Repeat until you get to the top of the pot.

Under a mulch sheet

Cover the soil with a sheet of biodegradable mulch, cutting crosses in the fabric to plant the seed potatoes. There’s no need to earth them up, just leave the tubers in the dark and remove the sheet when you are ready to harvest.

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