Will you have something on your dinner plate that has been grown in your garden or on an allotment. Winter is a good time to plan what you want to grow for next year whether it be from seed or trays of pre-grown seedlings, also planning the sowing and planting out times of whatever you’ve decided upon.
One of the most popular and easy vegetables to grow is potatoes, and if you are thinking of having a go you’ll find seed potatoes on sale just after the new year.
They will need chitting, a simple process done by arranging them on trays or egg boxes in a light but not sunny place, where they can grow shoots from the little ‘eyes’ on the skin of the potatoes; they are ready for planting when the shoots are about an inch long. Chitting gives them a head start in warm controlled conditions ready for planting outside.
They are also very easy to grow in potato growing bags or large containers too, but it is important to make sure that when you plant your container up to make sure that your container is protected from frost.
Potatoes make a good first crop when starting a vegetable garden or first digging over a patch of a new allotment plot simply because of the amount of soil preparation that’s required for them; with the digging, fertilising and some early weeding as they grow. As the foliage grows bigger they will become a good ground cover suppressing weeds until its time to crop them.
The one thing about growing your own potatoes too is that you have the chance to try different varieties that you might not see in the shops or maybe you like what you buy in the shops but want to grow your own ; at least you will know what’s gone into growing them.
My family favourite variety is ‘Jersey Royal’, a second early potato, boiled with a knob of butter and a sprig or two of garden mint. If you wanted to grow this particular variety you wouldn’t buy a seed potato of that name, instead it would be called ‘International Kidney’. It can only be called a ‘Jersey Royal’ if its grown in Jersey, I wonder what’s so special about Jersey soil?
See potatoes are now in store at £1.75 per K/G with over 35 varieties to choose from!