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Scottish seed potato merchants who supply the UK horticultural market with top quality seed to grow in their gardens or allotments. We supply garden centres and allotment societies aswell as selling direct to the public.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Planting Potatoes

Planting Potatoes in the garden

Growing potatoes in soil is still the most common and popular way to grow potatoes.

There are 5 different types of soil throughout the UK and some potatoes grow better in different soil types than others.

LOAM- A loamy soil is the ideal blend of clay and sand. It has the advantage of two types and none of their disadvantages. The presence of sand allows the water to percolate through quickly and the presence of the clay helps to keep the soil moist.

CLAY- This a smooth silky soil to touch and even when it is well drained it is inclined to be cold and wet. This type of soil should be worked in the autumn and left over the winter to break down.

SANDY- A sandy soil is light and easy to cultivate with a fork. It is a warm soilbecause it accepts the sun's rays much more easily. Sandy soils require plenty of organic matter as they are low in plant nutrients.

PEATY SOIL- Some times referred to as mossland peaty soil can become waterlogged and contain very little plant food but plenty organic matter. Fertilizers must be used with this soil type to maximise results.

LIMEY SOILS- Chalky or limey soil is usually shallow. It is lacking in humus and plant food, such soils are dry and sticky and unpleasant to cultivate when wet. Plants growing in these conditions can often suffer from stunted growth and lime induced chlorosis. Growing potatoes in limey soils is not highly recommended.

(See "Planting Potatoes")

To prepare your soil you should try and add organic matter in the back end of the previous year and this will give it time to break down over the winter and will add essential feeding to your soil.

Most potatoes are planted in the UK after mid March so as to avoid frosts, although this is not always the case. In the South of England it is possible to plant potatoes from the middle of February, whereas in the North of Scotland it is normal to plant potatoes in mid April.

To work out how many potatoes you will need for your garden or allotment, I would normally say for first earlies that you would give them a square foot per potato, and for second earlies and maincrops you should give them a square foot and a half per potato.

That should now make it easy for you to measure the area you wish to plant with potatoes and work out how many potatoes are needed.

Your potato bed should be turned over at least 1 week before you wish to plant your potatoes. A good garden fork can make this job a lot easier or maybe you can borrow or hire a rotovator.

Dig a simple trench the width of your shovel and 6inches deep before adding some fertilizer to the bottom of the trench. There are many good fertilizers that you can buy but make sure they are proper balanced potato fertilizers, as a general purpose fertilizer will not do the job.

Once you have added the fertilizer to the trench then simply fork the fertilizer into the bottom of the trench so that the soil is nice and loose below where the potatoes will be situated. Now that the trench is prepared you can add the potatoes to the trench.

Space your first earlies about 8-10 inches apart. Second earlies can be space 10-12 inches apart. Maincrops can be planted 12-15inches apart. Once you have planted your potatoes you can simply back fill the trench until the soil is level once again.

As the potato haulms grow you can ridge up the sides of the trench so that it forms a peak. This will allow the potatoes to grow upwards and prevent them from turning green and inedible.