Potatoes are one of these vegetables which I never really saw any point in growing until 4 years ago. I used to be prejudiced against the good old potato because I considered that it was part of the staple diet and fairly cheap anyway. But then I read that growing potatoes could help with the structure of the soil and that the growth of the plant can cover an area quite tightly making it difficult for weeds to come through.
This was at a time when I still had a fair proportion of my garden covered in weeds and it needed digging anyway, so why not plant a few tatties?
I was pleasantly surprised by the generous growth from the potato seeds and indeed it did cover a large area for many months until I needed to harvest my first potatoes. The process was really easy: basically you just need to dig out a trench, follow the instructions with regards to depth and width for planting the seeds, add a bit of fertilizer (optional) and just make sure that they don’t suffer too much from drought.
Our first crop was not as plentiful as subsequent harvests because my soil is heavy clay and therefore I guess it is harder for the plant to develop big potatoes. The first crop was a potato variety called Maris Piper which is now not my favorite variety but I can vouch for the fact that home-grown potatoes taste better than supermarket grown ones. They are also better for you – I eat my new potatoes with the skin on, confident that they have been grown organically.
So if you have enough space for potatoes, I strongly recommend them even for beginners. You cannot go far wrong.
My top tip: early varieties of potatoes tend to be less prone to diseases such as blight and new potatoes are so delicious that it’s a good choice to grow early or first early varieties.
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