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Potato

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Potato (Solanum tuberosum)   Edit Report inappropriate crop

Potatoes can be one of the most daunting crops for the novice - chitting, the huge range of varieties and earthing up can put people off. However, they grow on just about any soil and are the ideal way to break ground on a new allotment.

Potatoes are classified by texture/cooking suitability (floury or waxy) and growing season (first earlies, second earlies, maincrop and late maincrop). As well as these choices, they offer a variety of resistances to common pests - which you choose will depend upon conditions/common problems on your site.

If you only have space for a few plants choose a first early because new potatoes taste so much better when dug and boiled immediately

Likes and dislikes
Soil
Stonyok
Lightok
Loamyprefer
Heavyok
pH5.0 - 6.0
Manure
Previous cropdislike
Previous autumnprefer
Before plantingok
Position
Full sunprefer
Partial shadedislike
Shadedislike
Exposure
Openok
Shelteredprefer

Spring planting

sow indoors sow indoors

Place seed potatoes in old egg cartons, or trays of moist sand so that the greatest number of eyes is upwards. Keep in a cool, but frost-free, light place, but out of direct sunlight.


plant plant

Between plants: 30cm
Between rows: 60cm

Plant in a 15cm deep with shoots facing upwards. Pull soil back over leaving a slight ridge. Maincrop varieties require slightly more space - 40cm between tubers and 75cm between rows. When shoots are about 20cm high (or sooner for earlies if frost threatens) draw soil from either side of the row to create a ridge which should prevent the developing tubers being exposed to the light - green potatoes are poisonous if eaten in quantity. Repeat another couple of times during the summer until the ridge is about 30cm high. An alternative to this method is to create the ridges before planting, cover with black plastic, and plant through slits. Water well in dry weather once tubers have begun to form.


harvest harvest

Check earlies when the flowers appear - they should be roughly the size of an egg. Begin lifting when they are a bit smaller than this, leaving the rest of the row in the ground. You can then dig them up as required. Maincrop potatoes can be left in the ground until the foliage withers but don't leave them too long as they can be ravaged by slugs. Lift using a fork (preferably with wide or rounded tines to avoid damage) on a dry day and dry in the sun for a few hours. Store either in shallow trays or boxes in a cool but frost-free place, excluding all light. Inspect regularly to remove any showing signs of rot. Alternatively, build a ridge of potatoes on high ground, cover with straw and then 15cm of soil. Dig a shallow trench around this 'clamp' to make sure rainwater is diverted away.


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Common Potato Scab (administrator - 16:57 26/01/2015) Report inappropriate tip
1. Choose and plant resistant varieties; 2. Practise good crop rotation;3. Maintain an acid soil so do not add lime or alkaline ashes or poultry manure; 4. If you line the planting trench with grass clippings or wilted comfrey then cover with soil before adding your potatoes the decomposing vegetation will locally reduce pH (increase acidity)..and provide some food for the growing crop.
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