Good Friday has finally arrived and with it comes the annual tradition of planting out the potatoes! The variety I’m growing is called ‘International Kidney’ and they are formerly known as Jersey Royals. I’ve grown these for the past 3 years and they’ve proved to be great little growers with the added bonus of having the most delicious taste, especially with lashings of butter! For me they are the ultimate Summer salad potato and I can’t wait to start harvesting them in June.
As usual I prefer to chit my potatoes and they’ve been left on a shelf in the kitchen since mid February. This gives them a head start in the ground and allows you to help produce a strong and healthy shoot. Now this year I’m starting a new experiment and purposely purchased less seed potatoes then I actually need, I’ll be cutting some of them in half to see if the old gardeners tale is true. Apparently as long as a piece of seed potato has a strong chit on it then it should produce a healthy plant, so I’m putting it to the test to see for myself! I’ll be planting two rows up with the seed potatoes that have been cut in half so I can easily spot a difference if there is one. Before planting each potato out I made sure to rub off the weaker chits so that only one, strong chit remained on each potato.
First things first though I had to sort out the bed that they were being planted into which meant those poor Purple Sprouting plants had to be dug up and removed, not before I harvested the remaining stalks though! I managed to cut a good crop from the 8 plants before ripping them up, I even gave some to one of my neighbours and in return she gave me some of her beautiful rhubarb. This will be made into a delicious rhubarb crumble for our Easter Sunday roast and I’m thankful for our little allotment community!
Now back to the potatoes… Once I quickly dug the bed (which didn’t need much) I raked over the soil, marked out the 4 rows where the potatoes were going and grabbed my trowel. This year I’m doing things differently when it comes to planting them out and what it really comes down to it time. Since I’ve owned my allotment I’ve always dug trenches for my potatoes which can take an awful amount of time, something which I’m lacking this year. So I decided to go down the easy route and use a trowel, digging a 6 inch deep hole to pop the seed potato into with the chit pointing up. I also sprinkled some Sulphate of Potash into each hole to help build a good root system, something I did last year in the trenches which had good results on my crop. Each seed potato was planted 10 inches apart and each row was roughly 23 inches apart. Last year I planted them 12 inches apart in the rows but this year I’m hoping for smaller potatoes so I decided to grow them slightly closer together, meaning I should get more of those little salad potatoes that I’m longing for!
After a quick rake over the bed to neaten it up the potatoes were done for another year, now all I need to do is wait! Once the plants start to appear I’ll cover them up to make sure any last minute frosts don’t damage or destroy all my hard work. I can almost taste that buttery potato goodness!
I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Bank Holiday x