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How to Grow Potatoes for a Tasty, Organic Crop Dorset

Potatoes are one of the easiest starter crops for the novice gardener. Read on and get more information.

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How to Grow Potatoes for a Tasty, Organic Crop

How to Grow Potatoes for a Tasty Organic Crop

Planting potatoes - an easy guide for organic home growers

How to grow potatoes - potato flowers are quite pretty

Picture: potato flowers are quite pretty, too

Why not learn how to grow potatoes?

You can have your own, tasty, organic spuds fresh from the garden all summer long.

Nothing is as delicious as fresh new potatoes with a sprig of mint and a dab of butter! The humble potato can make quite a gourmet dish served with fresh greens from the garden.

You can even grow some to store through the winter.

If you have enough space in your garden it can be worthwhile growing a fair few, especially as the price of food is rising. Potato storage is easy if you have the space.

An easy crop

Potatoes are one of the easiest starter crops for the novice gardener. At the very easiest, you can pull back some soil and pop in potatoes and be fairly sure that you will have a crop in a few months.

Here's how to be reasonably sure you get a worthwhile harvest of tasty and nutritious organic potatoes with minimal work.

One of the brilliant things about potatoes is that they help clear ground for other crops, so it is not even essential to have well-tilled ground. Even so, you stand to get a better, cleaner harvest if your soil is clear of weeds and larger stones.

How to grow potatoes:

Give them plenty of space

Potatoes do need plenty of space and light to grow well. You should not put them in soil where tomatoes were recently grown. They are both Solanum family plants and so suffer from some of the same diseases. Even though they need space, they can do well on the patio in containers.

How to grow potatoes:

Choose good seed

Buy one or two varieties of seed potatoes in early spring. Choose an "early" and a mid-season (maincrop) or late variety in order to get spuds ready to dig up over several months. If you've only room for one type, an early is best. You can use them as you dig them up and use the ground for something else later. You also need to choose between salad and roasting potatoes. Salad potatoes tend to be waxy. The best roasters are more floury in texture.

Store the seed potatoes in a dry, cool place until you are ready to use them. You do not need to "chit" them. A recent study showed that it makes little or no difference to the quality and size of the crop. (Chitting is the process of setting seed potatoes to grow in a cool space before planting.)

How to grow potatoes:

Timing and soil conditions

Remove weeds and make sure the soil is warm enough - around 7 degrees Centigrade or better. You can plant some very early, even in February if you are prepared to cover the crowns with straw or fleece. Only do this if you have a sheltered spot and the season seems to be warm. Frost can kill young potatoes.

Dig a trench about 10 - 15 cms deep (4 - 6 inches). Place a whole potato every 25 - 30 cms or so. If the potato has lots of sprouting "eyes" you can either rub off all but two, or you ca...

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