Seed Potatoes are fun and easy to grow. They are great for kids to learn about the fun of gardening, and they taste great! Backyards to Barnyards has all the advice and products you need to get a great crop.
Autumn and spring. Potatoes do not like frost so if you can avoid frost problems they can be grown all through winter. Potatoes are prone to more diseases if grown in summer.
Peas, Beans, Corn, Broad beans, Nasturtiums and Marigolds
Cucumber, Pumpkin, Sunflowers, Tomatoes, Rosemary as they have share many diseases.
15 to 20 weeks
Plant when soil temperature is between 10 and 30 degrees Celsius and they like a slightly acidic soil with a ph of about 6. Potatoes like a sunny spot in the garden.
First of all you need to prepare the soil. Some like to use green manure and wait until it has rotted down (if you don’t wait green manure will burn plants), or you can use your own ready composted manure or we sell it ready to go! We recommend sheep manure as it contains potassium and small amounts of nitrogen. Generally, potassium is for fruiting and flowering, nitrogen is for the leaf growth and phosphorous is for the roots.
Since potatoes are essentially a root crop (the potatoes grow from the roots) it is a good idea to add phosphorous at planting and during the growth period. For this reason phosphorous is also sold as Potato E.
Dig your trenches in the prepared soil about 200mm deep and distance your certified seed potatoes about 30cm apart. We sell and recommend certified seed potatoes. You can use store bought potatoes, however you run the risk of introducing diseases. Certified seed potatoes are smaller and generally a bit wrinkly. They have been sprayed to prevent rotting and produce more viable “eyes” or “chits”. Before planting expose your seed potatoes to the light to start the shoots growing (called chitting). You want the shoots to be about 1cm long before planting and this can take a few weeks.
When planting place your potatoes with the largest shoots facing upwards, top up with more soil and water lightly. Your potatoes must be kept moist but not sopping wet (this will rot them). Let your potatoes grow till they are about 25cm high (about 4 weeks) and then mound more of your soil, manure and potato e mix on top. This will give you more potatoes. Removing flower heads will encourage bigger tubers (you don’t eat the flower in a potato crop and this stops the flower using the nutrient we want for the tubers). Don’t let your potatoes get exposed to the sunlight as this will produce green potatoes and they are poisonous.
Planting on / in straw – You can also plant your seed potatoes directly into straw. This will work in a container or directly onto the ground. Layer your straw about 15cm thick onto the ground or at the bottom of a container (the container must have holes in the bottom for drainage). You can also put cardboard or newspaper down first and then place the straw on. Place your seed potatoes on top with the largest shoot upwards and plant about 30cm apart. Cover with another layer of straw, manure and potato e and blood and bone. Water it in well. As the leaves grow, add another layer of straw and manure mix. You can build it up as high as your container or area allows, or you can stop after about 4 weeks (as long as you keep the tubers covered). Planting this way means you can remove tubers without disrupting the plant.
Stop watering once the leaves start to yellow off and die (after flowering). This will take around 15 weeks depending upon conditions. You can dig around before this and look for some big tubers but you need to ensure you cover the plant back up so more potatoes can keep growing. After a further 2 – 3 weeks you can pick some baby potatoes, leaving some tubers in the ground to mature more and pick in a further 4 – 6 weeks. Mature potatoes will also store better. When dug store them in a cool dry place and they can last for up to 6 months. You should get about a kilo of potatoes per seed potato planted.