1. Select a variety of seed potatoes that suits your tastes/how long you want to wait for your potatoes to be ready.
2. Buy your seed potatoes at least a month before planting, to enable them to sprout. Remove them from the bag and place in trays in a dry, airy spot away from direct sunlight, until sprouts are approximately 20-40mm long.
3. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like sheep pellets and compost to your soil.
4. Make long furrows in the soil approximately 300mm apart for smaller varieties and 400mm apart for main crop and larger varieties.
5. Place palings between the furrows to walk on while planting.
6. Add a layer of vegetable fertilizer in garden and pots. Hoe in.
7. Place seed potatoes approximately 250mm apart in the furrows.
8. Cover with up to 50mm of soil.
9. Water your potatoes well.
10. Continue mounding your potatoes as shoots grow, until they are approximately 300mm tall. This protects them from wind and frost, prevents light reaching tubers and turning them green, and encourages tuber development.
11. Do not plant potatoes in the same place each year, and avoid planting them where tomatoes have been planted the previous season, to reduce the risk of spreading disease.
12. Feed your plants and they will feed you. Replenishing nutrients used by your plants ensures they will grow to their full potential. Potatoes are gross feeders, feed every three to four weeks during key growth periods. For potatoes planted in garden beds feed with a specialty fertiliser which contains high levels of phosphorus and potassium.
13. Well watered, well nourished potatoes will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.
14. The weather, weeds, pest insects and diseases can all impact on the success of your garden. Mounding will help protect your potatoes from the elements. Carefully hoe around sprouts to keep your crop weed free. When watering, water the soil not the foliage to avoid blight. Be vigilant and stop unwanted insects and diseases from ruining your plants.
Harvesting and Storage
15. Early varieties are ready to harvest when the flowers are fully opened, approximately three months after planting, (except for Nadine, Rocket and Swift which may have few or no flowers on them). Main and late cropping varieties are ready when the foliage dies off. If you can easily rub off the potato’s skin with your thumb, the variety of potato is not good for storing, so eat these first. Earlier varieties are generally unsuitable for storing. As soon as potatoes have been dug, dry thoroughly and store in a cool, dark, well ventilated position. Carefully stored potatoes should last for up to six months.