Potatoes are quite possibly my favourite thing to grow. Slipping rows of seed spuds into deep trenches and waiting for those leafy tops to rocket up while fat tubers swell below the soil is as magical as watching daffodils bloom from dormant bulbs. Sprout the seed potatoes first. Just lay them in a single layer in a box until their goggle-eyes have 1-2cm sprouts, then they are ready to go into the ground. They’ll take about three weeks to emerge, so if you live in a part of New Zealand that gets late frosts, keep a roll of frost cloth handy.
To prepare the soil for planting, dig over the ground to a spade-depth and add compost (not too much as it leads to potato scab) and a light dressing of general NPK fertiliser. Dig trenches 20cm deep and space your seed potatoes 40-50cm apart (for early varieties like ‘Jersey Benne’, ‘Swift’ and ‘Rocket’) or 60-80cm apart for main croppers like ‘Agria’ or ‘Summer Delight’ (still my favourite for its speed,