Fresh New Potatoes are one of tastiest crops to grow at home, even if space is limited they can be grown in large containers or just a small area of your garden.
Shop bought potatoes with small sprouts can be planted but it is always best to get started with seed potatoes, first they need “chitting” this means leaving them to sprout before planting. The small buds need to face up keeping them cool and dry, old egg boxes are ideal to store them in as they start to grow.
When ready to plant dig over the ground to a depth of at least 8 inches, level and if dry give the soil a good water. They can be planted with a trowel but it is better to dig out a small trench 4 inches deep and the same wide.
They will need “earthing up” so keep the rows at least 2 feet apart, and 1 foot between the tubers as you plant, gently push them into the bottom of the trench making sure most of the buds are at the top. Back fill the trench and gently firm the soil.
The first shoots will take a while to appear and are vulnerable to frost, so on cold nights it is best to cover them over with any sort of material, although they will recover if damaged it does set them back so it is worth trying to protect them.
As they grow it is important to keep “earthing up”, this means pulling the soil into mounds around the new growth, the buried stems will produce more and it stops any growing near the surface turning green.
To grow in containers use the same method, the bigger the pot or trough the better, plant a few tubers and leave enough room to keep topping the pot up with compost as they grow. Containers will also need regular watering.
Potatoes planted in March can usually be harvested in June, when the flowers start appearing that is good time to start checking for the first crop.