Potatoes

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Planting potatoes
There has been a lot of debate about ‘chitting’ (allowing small shoots to form) tubers before planting. Some say it is a good thing to do as it gets the plants off to a good start while others say it makes no difference. I have done both and never really noticed a big difference, in the end it is up to you.

Another controversial subject is how to plant the tubers. On most allotments the norm is to dig an enormous trench and then space the tubers in the bottom before filling it in. That seems like a lot of unnecessary work so I have always just dug a small hole with a trowel and placed the tuber in the bottom.

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Earth up the plants as they grow i.e. drag soil up to form a ridge along the row so that just the top leaves are showing above the soil. If a late frost if forecast either earth over all leaves so that none show or cover with horticultural fleece. Potato tops are tender and will be killed off by frost.

Maybe that is why there is an old myth about potatoes ‘cleaning the ground’? Could it be that all the trench digging, earthing up and then digging them out at harvest time is what really does it!?

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