As good friday approaches, make sure your spuds are ready

Good Friday is the traditional time to plant potatoes, at least it is round here.

You can put them in earlier, many people do, but to do so risks getting caught by frosts, and having your crop ruined.  The safe bet, they say, is to wait until Good Friday, when the hard frosts should have safely passed, and spring is properly in the air.

To prepare your potatoes you should line them up ‘eyes’ upwards in boxes, punnets, trays or egg cartons, to allow them to chit, which is to say they start to sprout little shoots.

This isnt absolutely necessary before planting, but will help give your crop a head start.

This year I’ll be using potatoes to brreak in some pretty tough ground, which at the moment I am not managing to cultivate (lack of time).

Putting a couple of trenches of tatties in will mean that in the process of earthing them up I’ll be weakening the weeds in the area, and then when the spuds really get growing the plants will smother the weeds themselves.

I’ve got some tyres to plant in too, but to be honest I’ve got plenty of ground space for them, so the tyres can be saved for other things.

When you buy seed potatoes you will see that they are graded according to season, first earlies, earlies, main crop, etc.  If you want to avoid any risk of blight, you are best to grow first earlies, as they will get going before the blight can get them.  However, to have all your tatties arrive at one time may not be ideal, so its worth a go at growing some main crop too.

I was hoping to get out this morning to plant mine, but its raining and while I dont mind a bit of wet, the kids (who would have to come with me) will doubtless object – I shall have to find another way of doing it.

If you fancy growing a spud or two, but dont have a garden or allotment, you can grow them in containers, or even large pots, the key is to make sure you can add more compost as the shoots come up, and that there is decent drainage.  Some people grow them in buckets apparently, I never understood how that can work, and wouldnt personally reccomend you try it.

If you’re looking for other plants that can deal with weed infested soil, you could try Jerusalem Artichokes, which are also tuber like plants, and can be used like potatoes (although they are more knobbly).  These hardy little blighters will batter any localised weeds, and need little looking after,  in fact they will keep growing back in the soil unless you manage to get out every last tuber when digging them up – be warned.

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