AgribusinessAgri-LinkGainCountryLifeglanbia plc
Home    Gardener's Corner    News    Locations    About    Contact twitter facebook facebook pintrest
Gardening Advice Blog

Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

view all blogs   what to do in the garden by month   how to care for specific plants   Our horticulturists top tops for around the garden   Browse our other categories in the menu below

It's Time to Plant Potatoes

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Mar 20, 2017

Planting Potatoes

With the arrival of St Patrick's Day also comes the official start of the growing season in the garden for many gardeners around the country.  The 17th of March marks the point in the year when (normally) the threat of frost is well passed and that the soil has started to warm up to a point where growth can start again. By now as well the soil will have had a great chance to dry out following the winter months and so really we have the ideal conditions to start working in the garden properly again. 

Earlier in the month we took our first look at potatoes and how to prepare them for planting. Well judging by the number of queries I have gotten in CountryLife over the past few weeks a lot of people took the advice and by now should have seed potatoes which are ready for planting out.

If you started to chit your seed potatoes (place them in a sunny position to encourage tubers to start growing) you should have sturdy eyes emerging from your potatoes. At the moment you most likely have potatoes with a lot of eyes coming from them so before you plant them in the ground pick the strongest eyes and remove the rest. It is better to have around three strong eyes which will produce larger potatoes instead six or seven eyes that would produce more potatoes but much smaller ones. 

The growing site for your potatoes wants to be an area with good deep rich soil. It is good to spend a bit of time digging through the soil to make sure that there is no weeds or any rubble in the soil could interfere with your potatoes growing. This bit of preparation at the start will ensure you get a good quality crop of potatoes out at the end.

In terms of planting measurements early potatoes can be planted at 30cm apart in rows spaced 50cm apart. While the main crop varieties need more space and should be planted at approximately 40 cm apart in rows that are 75cm apart. To speed up planting I like to cut pieces of cane to size and use them as my spacers so that you can quickly move along a row and put your potatoes in a the right spacing.

Potatoes are a hungry crop and so it is good idea to work in some well-rotted farm yard manure into your bed to give the potatoes a good start. If you can’t get farm yard manure you can also use good quality compost or even leaf mould in the planting area.  At home I like to use a seaweed feed throughout the year to give the growing crops a boost. 

When it comes to blight treatment, new regulations have been brought in around the sale chemicals and this will mean that many gardeners will find that they will not be able to buy the same chemicals that they once did for domestic use. If you are in doubt about treatments that you can use ask in store for advice. It would be a good idea now for home gardeners to look more towards blight resistant crops which will stand a much better chance against blight.  

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at: hello@countrylife.ie

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!