POTA­TOES

South Waikato News - - Gardening Money -

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,

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