Potatoes are hugely versatile and are a staple ingredient of many meals in one form or another - boiled, mashed, chipped or baked.
Seed tubers of potatoes should be planted around late March for first earlies, early to mid-April for second earlies and mid- to late April for maincrops. This varies slightly depending on where you are in the country.
There are numerous ways of growing potatoes.
It's vital with earlies and a good idea with maincrops to chit the seed tubers first before planting; this means allowing them to produce sturdy shoots. Buy your seed potatoes in late January/February and stand them rose end up (the rose end has the most eyes) in egg boxes or similar in a light, frost-free place. The tubers are ready to plant when the shoots are about 2.5cm (1in) long.
Once planted, when the stems are about 23cm (9in) high, start earthing up by carefully drawing soil up to the stems and covering to produce a flat-topped ridge about 15cm (6in) high. This can be done little and often or in one go.
Newly emerging foliage is susceptible to frost damage. You can prevent this by earthing up the soil around the shoots or by covering them with fleece.
The traditional way is to dig a narrow trench 12.5cm (5in) deep. This can be lined with compost or even grass clippings for a better crop. The seed tubers are spaced 30cm (12in) apart for earlies and 37.5cm (15in) for maincrop varieties in rows 24in (60cm) apart for earlies and 75cm (30in) apart for maincrop. Sprinkle slug pellets or other slug deterrents between the tubers as keel slugs can be a problem.
Potatoes need a sunny site away from frost pockets.
It's important to keep light away from the developing new potatoes as light turns them green and green potatoes are poisonous.
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Potato Arran Pilot
Potato Seeds | Genus Solanum | Solanum tuberosum
Early - Arran Pilot seed potatoes are the nation's favourite garden-grown variety. Arran Pilot has been around since 1930 and has remained popular due to its excellent taste and early boiling ability.
Arran Pilot produces high yields of white skinned tubers with shallow eyes. The flesh is pure white and is among the best boiling potatoes available.
Great resistance to all forms of scab and scores a high 9 for spraing resistance.
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