CHOOSING AND GROWING POTATOES
TIMING: Seed potatoes should be planted after frosts have finished. Planting the proper varieties will ensure an early fresh crop for Christmas followed by an early/main crop for summer salads and a later main crop for winter storage.
EARLY CROP take approximately 60-90 days until harvest.
Early crop potatoes are normally dug when the flowers are fully open and the potato tubers are still immature. They are best eaten immediately.
EARLY / MAIN CROP take approximately 80-120 days until harvest.
Mid-season potatoes can be dug immature and served fresh with summer barbecues or left until mature.
MAIN CROP take approximately 90-120 days until harvest.
Main crop potatoes are best left to fully mature and dug when the foliage has completely died down. Main crop potatoes tend to be high yielding and suitable for storing.
Potatoes vary in texture, some are waxy some are floury and some are a bit of both. The texture of a potato determines its use in the kitchen.
WAXY POTATOES (Boil)
Some potato varieties are waxy because their sugar has not yet converted to starch, these potatoes don’t disintegrate when cooked so are best boiled for salads, casseroles and soups.
WAXY / FLOURY (Boil – Mash – Bake)
These potatoes are not too floury, not too waxy and are suitable for most end uses.
FLOURY POTATOES (Mash – Bake)
Floury potatoes don’t hold their shape well when cooked so are best used for mashing and baking and can be used for chips, roast potatoes or wedges.
Certified seed potatoes are grown by a certified grower that operates under strict export quality guidelines, this ensures the potatoes are true to name and as disease free as possible.
WHEN TO PLANT
Potato plants are frost tender, seed tubers shouldn’t be planted until after frosts have finished, unless covered.
WHERE TO PLANT
For best results choose a sunny sheltered position with good drainage, potatoes like a well composted soil. Apply Seeds & Cereals poultry compost to soils with low organic matter, this will improve drainage during wet conditions and retain moisture during hot dry weather.
Seed potatoes can be spread out in a warm, dry place with indirect light to encourage sprouts to form then planted when short, green sprouts appear.
SPACING AND MOUNDING
The following is a guide for sowing seed potatoes:
Trench: Form a trench about 300mm deep and 800mm – 1m apart.
Space: About 250 mm (early crops) to 350 mm (main crops) between plants.
Cover: Cover tubers with about 50—100 mm of soil keep covering new growth until soil is level with the top of the trench, then start mounding.
Mounding: When the plants are 200–250 mm high they should be mounded up by drawing soil from within the row. Mounding helps support the growing plant, kills weeds and prevents developing tubers becoming green.
Potatoes prefer a slightly acid soil (pH 5–6) so avoid applying lime to areas where potatoes are to be grown. Apply Seeds & Cereals Potato Fertiliser at a rate of 60-80 grams per metre of row. Spread evenly and cover with 1-2 inches of quality soil or Seeds & Cereals Compost before placing tubers on top.
Once the plants are well established, regular water is essential for good yield and quality. Cease watering after plants have flowered.
Store potato tubers in a cool (ideally 5°C), dark, dry, rodent-free place.
Ground storage (leaving the tubers in the soil until they are required) is possible, but not in soils that may become waterlogged.