Get ready to plant the first of this season’s potatoes, starting by stocking up on seed potatoes from the mouthwatering selection now on sale at our garden centre here in Bitton and Warminster. You can risk planting fast-growing new (first early) potatoes from mid-March; slower-maturing second earlies and maincrops go in from early to mid-April.
Save yourself some work – and backache – by trying no-dig potato growing this year. It works in the opposite way from conventional spud growing, as you start from the ground and work your way up.
Begin by hoeing the soil, forking out perennial weeds, then spread well-rotted manure or compost over the surface. When the weather turns warm enough, lay seed potatoes on top 30-45cm apart, and cover with a 5cm layer of straw. As the plants grow, top this straw layer up so it's always just below the top growth. A double layer of horticultural fleece protects them against frost, too.
When the straw is around 20cm thick, add a final layer of grass clippings or leafmould and let the plants grow on. For harvesting, simply move the mulch aside, take what you need and return the covering, allowing your plants to continue producing more delicious spuds for you to enjoy.