Friday, 7 March 2008

Chitty Chitty Spud Spud

I have been hunting high and low for last years variety of potatoes I planted called 'Picasso' but have not been able to get hold of them anywhere. So now I have gone for 2 varieties of good all-rounders, 'Kara' and 'Record'.

Once you have your potato seeds you need to 'Chit' them. This means letting them sit in the light for a couple of weeks or so to let them sprout. Egg boxes are ideal for this as they sit very snuggly in rows in the same position. You will notice little shoots appearing from the eyes on the potato seed. The longer these grow, the better, but you must be careful when it come to planting so as not to not to break them. From these shoots will grow further little shoots where colonies of potatoes will start to grow. Once planted, look for these shoots coming to the surface of the soil, when you see this, cover them over again with the soil which will encourage them to grow further, thus producing more shoots for more potatoes. Theoretically, instead of getting 20 potatoes from one plant, by doing this you could get around 20 kilos!!! So don't forget girls your roots!

I have decided to dedicate around 2/3 of one patch to potatoes this year. We generally use them on a daily basis, so the more, the better and they store so well. Just leave them in the ground and dig them up when you want them. The best time to get them in the ground after chitting is mid April time. Some people plant out as early as March but your really risking attacks from frosts then and you don't actually gain anything time-wise either. Having dug over the patch to get it ready for this years crops, I have stumbled acoss the odd ones that we missed last year. Great for a Vegetable Patch, Patch Soup to use up all the odds and sods that may still be lurking beneath the brown soily waves!

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