northpole

The Penguin Rules
Growing Early Potatoes
lt’s almost that time of year to get the garden ready for homegrown fruit and vegetables.And one of the favourite vegetables to grow is the spud.A lovely wholesome vegetable with many varieties on how to create dishes.And to think it was all achieved by the tender nurturing from the hands of the grower to the kitchen during the harvest.

Chitting your spuds
To grow the potato you need a good certified seed potatoes to start them off.Each potato should only have 2 to 3 sprouting eyes for growing.The rest can be rubbed off.Larger potatoes can be cut in half and make sure each cut potato has 2 to 3 eyes for sprouting.Place the expose cut facing upwards for allowing the exposed flesh to dry[this should only take 3 day’s minimum].The little potatoes can be left whole. Place them in a shallow cardboard container and away from the full sun in a slightly warm place.make sure each potato isn’t touching the other[just keep them slightly apart] because without any air circulation can cause fungi's to grow and then contaminate the other seed potatoes.Place them on the table slightly covering the seed potato with newspaper so the air can get at them.But always avoid the sunlight.

Monitering the progress
Check on the growing sprouts progress to see how much they have grown.Once you see the shoots appearing they will start taking the nourishment from the spud.And when they are about quarter of an inch long and thick,that’s the time to take the paper away for them to harden up for outdoor planting.Never prolong the covering of newspaper on the spuds.Because once the shoots grow.They need the light for them to turn into healthy shoots.lf you see any signs of the shoots becoming spindly.Then take those out and place them in the light ready for planting out straight away.The spindly one’s will dry out quicker then the healthy shoots.

Planting the spuds.
This is how l done it.l raked the soil to a fine tilth and marked the place for where the spuds are to be sowed.Stake one end with string attached and at the end of the row facing south,SE,or SW.This gives maximum sunlight in the rows.Measure a stick to 18 inches and use that as your guide between each planted spud.Dig the first hole to 6 inches and place some straw at the bottom of hole[optional]lay the cut spud upright with the shoots facing upwards and the cut laying on the straw.Gently fill the hole in with soil and slightly tamp it down.Carry on doing that every 18 inches until you reach the other end.Once one row is planted ,you can then make a soil ridge on the planted spuds,say about a few inches high.And each row should be at least 20 to 24 inches apart for earthing up later on.
Nurturing the plants
Once you see signs of shoots appearing through the soil.Earth them up so the shoots are covered. This allows the shoots to be encouraged to grow better tubers. lf you do see any signs of frost it will be advisable to lay a thin layer of straw on the rows.The shoots are very delicate to the frost and they will turn black and die if frost gets at them.As the plant grows and becomes bigger.Now is the time to earth them up between the rows.This is why we need a gap of at least 24 inches to get in the rows for covering up the tubers.As the plant grows you need to earth them up so not to expose the tubers to the sun because once exposed they turn green and not fit for consumption.They become poisonous and fit for the bin.Earthing up to make the soil ridge bigger in sequence with the height of the plant is important to stop it from turning green and also other pests getting at the tubers.

How to water the spuds.
l have always used an irrigation system by pricking a old water hose with a nail and lay this in between the rows until satisfied.Always use this method because the slow trickle allows the water to seep in slowly to the tubers.The problem with watering by hand is it only waters the surface giving it that impression the plants roots are nourished.The trench rows are great in holding the water where it needs to go and does not filter off.Now and again,feed the potato plants with tomato feed or your own homemade diluted liquid manure.Place a couple of large cap fulls of tomato feed or L.M in a 2 gallon watering can and fill the rest with water.Go along the rows watering each row evenly.This will eventually seep in the ground and feed the roots.
Harvest time
The harvesting is the best part because of what you have achieved by the tender nurturing of your plants that brings something free to your kitchen and also promotes a well being.When the plants turn slightly yellow is the time to harvest them.lf the weather is fine and you need only a few spuds now and again.Just harvest the plants that are more yellow and leave the stronger one’s later on.
Happy planting.
For those that wish to grow spuds and do not have any land to do this are ways around to grow spuds in a large tub that will give you an abundance of 5 to 8 pounds of spuds
 
Last edited:

ExG

Member
Growing Early Potatoes
A great post and excellent advice

I use egg cartons for chitting. They are perfect for the job.

I plant in raised beds and also in containers. Don't forget crop rotation.
I love spuds and I do earlies and maincrop.

I make my own nettle fertiliser for general use in the garden and I also use epsom salts
mixed with water (1 tablespoon with 1 gallon) for the potatoes and tomatoes.

Eliot
 

tjd

Member
Growing Early Potatoes
Nice post Northpole. I always fancied growing my own potatos.

However: Being from Northern Ireland where we have some of the best spuds in the world, the local Comber spuds being one of the best known and my daughter going out with a farmer we buy our spuds in 1/2 cwt bags for a few quid. Maybe in a few years when I have more time on my hands I'll grow them myself.

May all your spuds be floury and dry once they're cooked. (the way I like mine)
 

millilove76

millilove76
Growing Early Potatoes
Great post Bob,
I'm going to try and grow in container tubs this year as last year i planted in the ground and they didn't grow well. I didn't have a big crop and they were green! (it was my first attempt). If i do what you say then when do i plant out and what is a good variety to use?

I know the threads about potatoes but can you advise me about strawberries? Last year i bought a few young plants and put them in a hanging basket and had some very tasty strawberries from them. This year i'd like to do more but how, when and can you grow from seed or is it just young plants that can be purchased.
 

northpole

The Penguin Rules
Growing Early Potatoes
l do think the closest one can get to a Jersey royal as a early potato is the foremost.Or l have always preferred the old varieties of the pentlands.They have that waxy texture which is ideal for cooking and served as whole with a nob of butter.Great tasty potato.
lf you wish to try the tub technique.Then l would suggest trying to find tubs people throw away and use those.The main aim of the game in vegetable growing is to make it counter productive.Try and avoid buying all these products when one can use alternatives.Much of the throw aways can be of benefit to one in the garden.
l'll write out how l grew potatoes in a tub.
Please remember the golden rule in avoiding the potatos going green[l made this one up]. sunlight on spuds turns green.Covered up spuds keeps the flesh healthy.Just like us really.When our skin is exposed to sun we turn a funny color.When we cover up ,our skin remains healthy.The incredible hulk had this problem,but tried to cover it up.

This is how l grew spuds in a tub
I’ll take you through on how to grow lovely spuddys in a tub step by step.
What l do is ask around for any large tubs that are 18 to 24 inches in diameter people do not want and then l clean them out ready for the preparation.

You need to make holes in the bottom of the tub.l used one of those manual drills with a large drill bit to make the holes about quarter inch in diameter.Drill out 6 holes around the outer edge and then one in the middle.That gives you 7 holes.

The next stage is to place the tub at your chosen place facing south,SE,SW, with the tub sitting on 3 objects about 1 inch high.They can be stone,wood,bits of rubble etc.as long as the bottom of the tub does not touch the ground[the reason for this is to give the contents in the tub better drainage].

Now for the fun bit.Place enough crock at the bottom just to cover the holes,that’s all you need[not more then that]The next job is to cover the crock with some of the garden soil mixed in with some compost and some sand.75% mixed soil and 25% sand all mixed together.Place your spud in the middle of the tub on top of the mixed soil you laid.[l always lay it on a bit of straw,but this optional]Then cover the spud with more of the mixed soil just enough to cover it.Give it a water[l prefer rain water because it has no chemicals].

Watch as the plant grows through the soil and then cover that up.And keep on doing this until you reach the top of the tub and let it grow fully.With each stage of covering the shoots will need to be watered.But never saturate it.Only water it until moist and keep it moist at all time.
The reason for this technique is to produce as many spuds as you can in such a short space.What happens is as the shoots keeps on growing to find the sunlight it produces side root growth where the tubers swells.That is the trick.The longer the underneath shoot is,the more spuds you will have.l also learnt this from growing tomatoes.

Once the you have reached the top.Allow the plant to fully grow to maturity.And now and again feed it with tomato fertilizer or the homemade kind.A member mentioned nettle weed fertilizer which is a great food for the spuds.Try making this type of fertilizer.because remember it is all about producing food that is counter productive.

And when the foliage turns yellow.That is the time to harvest your lovely spuds.
Enjoy the moment and savour your achievement as a successful gardener also as a cook with the freshest organic spuds for the family
 
Last edited:

northpole

The Penguin Rules
Growing Early Potatoes
Hope you and Mrs Bob, are keeping warm up there. Weather is pretty bad, and worse to come.

Mary.

Worse to come is about right.The temperatures here have plummeted to -20 and more during the night and the day temperatures in the morning are around the -10 mark.Our pipes are frozen and l cannot get any water for the most essential of things.Draughts are entering the house on all corners making the house cold.
Even though we had the wood fire on the go could not warm the house.The radiators have been running at little capacity and l need the repair guy in to bleed it through.
lf l had the job done properly in the first place to the house that l paid for,none of these problems would have occurred.Those pesky rats have been nicking most of the insulation in the loft leaving empty cavities behind.l tried to outsmart them by changing tactics.But as usual they sussed me out what l was up to and ignored my methods.l have to try something else.
All l can do is sit it out until the thaw comes and start on some of the jobs that were not done for which l paid for these jobs.
As the saying goes.lf you want a good job done,do it yourself.l should have listened to my instincts.
But!,apart from all that.l am looking forward to growing hundreds of spuds,corn,sunflowers,and parsnips mainly to sell off and the rest will be for personal use.Some of the other area of land l have will be used for growing livestock feed.l have to fence the area off because the sheep have a ferocious appetite on what l plant.They ate my fruit tree saplings and nibbled my wheat to the ground that were poking through.And to rub salt into the wounds.The sheep dogs[which they are friends to my dogs]were just sitting there doing nothing about it.They just looked at me and barked."oh well",it is up to me to fence the boundaries l suppose since animals do not recognize human boundaries.
 

millilove76

millilove76
Growing Early Potatoes
Bob, if i grew potatoes in a raised bed how deep would you suggest it should be? I just fancy growing some small new potatoes.
 

northpole

The Penguin Rules
Growing Early Potatoes
Bob, if i grew potatoes in a raised bed how deep would you suggest it should be? I just fancy growing some small new potatoes.

Whether it is a raised or not Millilove the depth for early potatoes is around the 4 inch mark.But l have always dug a depths of 6 inches because it encourages a longer root stem for more tubers.
Middle Earlie's l used the same method.
And main crop is 6 inches or give and take another inch.

Stick to that and you will be ok.But don't forget to cover the shoots as they poke through the soil to encourage a even better longer root system.The ridge soil along the row should be at least 6 to 8inches high and a foot wide for Earlie's[just giving you a picture of how it should look like].lt also protects any potatoes from being exposed to the sunlight which can lead to them going green and poisonous
 

turkishknashers

i'm just a lucky girl
Growing Early Potatoes
bob, when you do the chitting stage....do you do that indoors ? and just to clarify.....when the shoots have grown, do you plant them with the roots pointing upwards ??? i'm sure when i did my 1st attempt(being a novice i planted them shoots downwards as you would other plants)
i want to have a go a growing big potatoes this time, any recommendations for big ones ?
thanks in advance
 

northpole

The Penguin Rules
Growing Early Potatoes
bob, when you do the chitting stage....do you do that indoors ? and just to clarify.....when the shoots have grown, do you plant them with the roots pointing upwards ??? i'm sure when i did my 1st attempt(being a novice i planted them shoots downwards as you would other plants)
i want to have a go a growing big potatoes this time, any recommendations for big ones ?
thanks in advance

Always make sure when planting the tuber with the shoots on are facing upwards.The chitting stage[be careful how you pronounce that word when drinking] l do indoors ,with each tuber or half cut tuber have 2 to 3 eyes on them.The eyes are the Nobe's where the growths forms.

lf you would like to grow the biggin's.Then l advice a main crop variety called King Edwards which is a light red skinned potato and ideal for many recipes especially for fluffy mashed potato_Or you can try the Majestic.This is the potato l have grown for years with an average of each plant producing a crop of 3 to 5 pounds of spuds.l had 30 of these plants which gave me 100 pounds of potatoes.
The 2 varieties l mentioned are the old one's.And other new varieties always pop up on the market taking over the old one's.The stores should have a guide on each potato.But remember the bigger the spud the more water contents it has which makes them more suitable for mashing then any other method in cooking
 

Ada

Golden Girl
Growing Early Potatoes
bob, when you do the chitting stage....do you do that indoors ? and just to clarify.....when the shoots have grown, do you plant them with the roots pointing upwards ??? i'm sure when i did my 1st attempt(being a novice i planted them shoots downwards as you would other plants) i want to have a go a growing big potatoes this time, any recommendations for big ones ? thanks in advance
Hi Turkishknashers.
Nothing to do with potatoes and nothing to do with your photo either but I just have to tell you I really fancy you!
Nothing wierd, its just from reading your posts.. XX

I was gonna tell you how to get big ones too (!) but Bob beat me to it!

They like a rich soil so loads of organic matter and bury your veg/fruit peelings into the soil they will be planted in.

X
 

Peaceplant

Cat mad and unashamed
Growing Early Potatoes
I'm trying my first ever veg garden and so excited. I am doing 3 varieties of spuds, 2 types of onions, carrots, herbs and lettuce. Considering peas and beans if I feel daring. Have some tomato seeds to have a go with as well. I've got some wicker planters for all my smaller crops with the spuds at the back of the garden then onions and carrots.

I am putting my seed potatoes in egg trays in our bedroom which is like a huge fridge most of the time :) They look like they are already shooting but maybe not long enough yet. Read in a book it takes 6 weeks to shoot but surely not? I'll miss my timing to get the early ones in. Oh it's all very complicated with compost and straw to buy and goodness knows what else. But I want to learn ready for the 'good life' in Turkey.

Years ago in my single days a friend and I moved into a flat together. A very big garden came with it which we weren't interested in of course but my flatmates dad was an avid gardener. So for months he weeded, cultivated and planted row upon row of veggies tending to them daily after work while we made him the odd cuppa and looked on in bewilderment. Then we decided to move in with another girlfriend and abandoned the garden flat - you can guess the reaction of dad :lol: When I think about it now I could cringe..
 
Growing Early Potatoes
I am about to start the herb garden - We have Rocket, Chives -Parsley -Basil -Coriander & Dill.
I grew potatoes once when I lived in the UK, I just grabbed a load of old spuds from the veggie rack & dug a small hole, covered it and hoped for the best. It was completely the wrong time of year to do this. My Husband said to me 'If they grow I'll eat my hat'!! Well would you believe they grew, I didn't make him eat his hat : ) But he still owes me for that one!
They say some people have 'Green Fingers' I am not sure how true this is, but I tend to just chuck my seeds down and wait (obviously I water them) and lone behold I always get my crop. We have just finished off the last of our potted Chilli's that I grew from seed. Where we live the land is so fertile you can grow anything without too much fuss.

Happy Gardening Folks.
 
Last edited:

Ann Wills

Member
Growing Early Potatoes
"International Kidney" is the one sold as Jersey Royals if your interested. Because they are not grown in Jersey then you are not allowed to call them Jersey Royals!
 

Latest Posts

Top Bottom