How to: Grow perfect potatoes

Just imagine a steaming bowl of new potatoes, sprinkled with fresh mint and melting butter – what could be more perfect for a delicious summer supper on the patio? They’ll taste all the better if you’ve grown them yourself, traveling just a few feet from plot to plate and eaten within an hour of pulling from the ground – there’s little to beat it. Best of all, potatoes are foolproof to grow, meaning you’re guaranteed a tasty crop whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro – just plant one in the ground and it multiplies. They can also be grown in a container or potato-growing bag, meaning you can still enjoy a harvest even if you haven’t got a veggie patch to plant them in. Potatoes take little looking after once they’re planted, meaning you get a big return for very little effort.

What you'll need:

Step 1
Lay your potatoes in seed trays in a bright, frost-free place. This will encourage them to sprout. Look out for ‘early’ potatoes, as they are easy to grow.

Step 2
Plant your sprouting potatoes in March-April. Dig a trench that’s about a trowel’s depth and then carefully position the potatoes 30cm apart.

Step 3
Cover the shoots with earth as they grow so they are just buried (you’ll need to do this several times). This encourages the potatoes to multiply.

Step 4
Water your potatoes regularly, especially if there’s little rain through the spring and early summer.

Step 5
Now for the good bit – digging them up. Do this as soon as your plants start to flower, but when the foliage is still green.

Step 6
Use a garden fork to dig up the plants, taking care not to damage the precious crop with the prongs.

Top Tip:

Use a large plastic pot if you haven’t got a veg patch or growing bags – plastic is best as it retains moisture and keeps compost moist.

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