Looking around the plots I’m beginning think that it’s getting a bit late to plant my potatoes…
But those that have managed to get them in had to put a lot of work into their plot last year, they planned ahead, rough digging over their chosen bit of ground before the first winter frost and rains arrived, this ensured that ground could weather over the winter month’s. Then they patiently waited for that break in the weather and when the ground had dried out just enough for them to get on to the plot and break the soil down to a suitable tithe, they got their seed potato’s in and earth up before the weather changed again for the worst.
Why all this effort, well like many potato growers, especially those on allotments there is a fear of potato blight, if it arrives the only thing that we can do is to cut of and remove the green growth. This hopefully stops the blight from moving down into those treasured young potatoes, but it also has the effect of stopping the growth of potatoes, producing a harvested that can be a less than satisfying.
So the reasoning is, the earlier you can get your potatoes in, the longer they will have had to grow if we do get potato blight. (It should be noted that last year the expected blight never did really appear).
Oh! There is one other small insignificant reason, why some like to plant potatoes early, obviously not a factor related to Fareham Allotment Holders, but it is suggested that some gardeners feel that there is only one thing better when watching others breaking their backs trying to prepare their potato plot in the early spring, (whilst their potatoes are all safely planted under neat earthed up ridges,) and that is that smug satisfaction you get when you know that you are one of the first to be sat in front of a plate of new season potatoes.
Early verities, Late verities, This dose not necessarily relate to their planting time it relates to the amount growing time they require early's take about 10-12 weeks where as late's take about 15-20 weeks, as long as they are in by June there is plenty of time. The early's should be ready by August and the late’s will need digging up by late October
And if you think about it, and if you can avoid any early frost you could plant early verities in late summer to hopefully crop Xmas time.
Potato blight, if and when it arrives there is not a lot you can do. When it arrives it’s to late. Aim to grow healthy plants, don’t over crowd your plants, and allow sufficient space between rows to allow air to get around them. The blight spores like warm humid conditions. And some aim to preempt blight with a regular spray of a proprietary copper solution,