Gardening Magazine

New Potatoes Coming Along Nicely

By Mwillis
My efforts with protecting my potatoes, first with the mini-greenhouses and latterly with the fleece, seem to have paid off. The plants are looking big, strong and healthy.
New potatoes coming along nicely
For me, growing potatoes is not about quantity and big harvests; it's about a small but satisfying crop of good-quality potatoes, much better (and certainly much fresher) than anything you can buy in a shop.
I have only 12 containers of potatoes (they are 35-litre ones), so it is relatively easy to look after them. Apart from protecting them frost, and in their early days earthing them up, the most important thing to do is water them well. The soil in containers can dry out very rapidly in hot weather, and potatoes don't like that. Dry soil in particular promotes the disfiguring disease Scab. Since there has been very little rainfall recently I have been watering my pots about every other day. In warmer weather I would probably increase this to once a day.
New potatoes coming along nicely
The foliage of my potatoes is very fresh-looking still, and perkily upright, so this tells me that it's unlikely there are any sizeable tubers down below just yet. As the tubers begin to swell the foliage tends to flop and it starts to lose its bright green color.
New potatoes coming along nicely
Another sign of approaching maturity is the appearance of flowers. However, though some potato varieties produce quite large and sometimes colourful flowers, others only have very small and insignificant ones. This "Colleen" plant is obviously one of the latter!
New potatoes coming along nicely
At the rate things are proceeding - and a spell of warm sunny weather is forecast for our area - I think we are on track for harvesting the first potatoes in about 3 to 4 weeks' time. Of course the first ones to be lifted will be First Early varieties and their yield will not be huge, but I fully expect them to be lovely and tasty!

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