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How To Plant and Grow Potatoes
Gone-ta-pott.com
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One of the easiest vegetables to grow is the potato. Whether you grow a main crop to keep you in roasties all though the winter or deliciously sweet salad potatoes to enjoy during the summer, the principles of growing them are the same. Planted in the ground, potatoes do take up a lot of room on your vegetable garden, but you can just as easily grow them in containers or large bags. Here is a short guide to planting and growing potatoes in your garden.

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Chitting

Most commercial growers of potatoes don't chit them before planting, so why is it common practice on the vegetable plot? The process of chitting is when you take a seed potato and put it in a sunny spot to grow shoots. The shoots that emerge are short and dark, unlike the ones that appear if you store potatoes in the dark. In fact what you are doing is aging the potato, speeding up the aging process so that when you plant it in the ground it will grow much faster and you will get an earlier crop. Seed potatoes can be chatted from January to March. They are ready to be planted when the shoots are around 3cm long.

Planting potatoes

There are many varieties of potato, but they are usually divided into 'earliest', 'second earliest' and maincrop. The names indicate when they crop and also how much space you will need. Early varieties don't take up so much space and less likely to have pest problems because they are harvested early. 'Second earliest' take 16 to 17 weeks to mature and can be harvested from late June to early August. Main crop potatoes are ready 18 to 20 weeks after planting and can be lifted from July through to October.

In the ground, potatoes are normally grown in rows on ridges which are formed by the process of earthling up. Early in the year you earth up potatoes to protect the emerging shoots from frost. Later on covering them with soil will stop those potatoes growing near the surface from being exposed to the light which turns them green and makes them poisonous.

Plant your potatoes from mid-March to early April. Dig a trench around 13cm deep and add some fertiliser or well rotted manure before you start planting. Plant the potatoes around 30cm apart with 40cm between rows. As soon as the shoots emerge, earth up and continue to do so every two to three weeks. Your potatoes should be ready to harvest from June until September, depending on the variety. You should lift them when the shoots are still green and as soon as the flowers have opened.

Growing potatoes in containers

Potatoes are just as easy to grow in containers. Any large garden planters or even tough compost bags will do. Fill your chosen container about two thirds full of compost and place a few potatoes on top. Cover them with compost and water well. Once the green shoots appear, add more compost as a form of earthing up.

Jo Poultney is one of two people behind Garden Planters. I have an RHS general certificate in horticulture. Garden Planters source unusual outdoor and indoor planters, and other garden related gifts - whatever your taste, be it traditional, modern or just a bit quirky, we will have something for you. I believe garden planters are an integral part of any garden - they enhance the overall design and say a little something about the person to whom the garden belongs. If you would like to know more about Garden Planters, visit our website at http://www.gardenplantersshop.co.uk

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jo_Poultney
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6948456

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Events Significant for February:
  • February is National Potato Lover's Month!

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