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Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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Plant your own potatoes

by User Not Found | Jan 17, 2014


Potatoes are the most popular vegetables in Ireland. We can’t imagine a dinner without them and we want you to know just how easy it is to grow your own at home. They are very easy to plant and with a very little attention you’ll be able to produce ideal potatoes for baking, boiling, chips or mash. 

There is a whole range of potato types varying with flavour, planting/harvesting dates etc. Our simple chart will help you to choose the right type.



Pla
nting:

  • February is an ideal time for planting seed potatoes so firstly place them in an egg box or on a tray in a bright, frost-free area. In a few weeks they will sprout (chit) and when they reach 2.5cm they are ready for planting
  • you can start planting between March and April
  • dig a narrow trench (5” deep) and add compost or grass clippings
  • place seed potatoes a foot apart and cover with soil
  • when you see the first shoots, keep covering them with soil to encourage the potatoes to grow underground. Repeat this step few times
  • with watering make sure to water only early in the morning and not when the sun is at its hottest during the day
  • you can harvest your earliest potatoes when the plant flowers and the foliage is still green, later crops are best to be dig out when their leaves are yellow and brown


Protect your potatoes from diseases.

The most common potato disease is blight. It’s a parasitic fungus that can attack the whole plant usually during summer months. The first signs of blight are brown spots on leaf tops of the potato plant, sometimes accompanied by white fluffy fungal growth. Don’t worry you can avoid it if you follow our tips:

  • plant blight resistant potatoes such as Sarpo Mira, Sarpo Axona, Blue Danube, Setanta and Orla
  • keep earthing up potatoes as they grow, this will protect potato tubers
  • ensure that the beds are cleared of weeds
  • check your potato leaves daily and keep an eye on the “blight warnings” issued in media
  • if you notice blight on the leaves cut the stems at ground level leaving the tubers in the ground for at least 10 days before removing them
  • the best method is to spray your potatoes with Bordeaux Mixture but remember to do it before the risk of blight. It wouldn’t help if you sprayed them when they are already infected
Fergal’s Bio
Hi my name is Fergal, I have been a horticulturist with CountryLife since April 2009 in the New Ross branch . I have a BSC in horticulture which I received from WIT and Kildalton College . Before joining CountryLife I worked in Ballymaloe cookery school in Shanagary Co. Cork were I was involved in fruit and vegetable production for the cookery school and also the farmers Market in Middleton every Saturday. After Ballymaloe I went to work in Mount Congreve Estate in Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford where I worked on the grounds of the estate maintaining the gardens. I love planting seeds and taking cuttings of plants, giving them a little bit of care and attention and watching them grow into mature plants. Fergal - See more at: http://www.countrylife.ie/blog/blog/2013/10/01/october-in-the-garden#sthash.BHFzLq5Q.dpuf
- See more at: http://www.countrylife.ie/blog/blog/2013/11/01/november-in-the-garden#sthash.cK3bCMzJ.dpuf