Seed Potatoes

Shopping has commenced in the garden centre for the new season.Seed potatoes, onion sets and shallots, enough to be getting on with at present!
Seed potatoes are all first earlies, we decided this is what we would grow last year and will continue for this year.
Early potatoes are priceless especially when you can dig your own!
They will probably escape blight or at least the worst of it.
They are at their most expensive early in the season, at the moment we can buy 10kgs of Roosters for 2.99!
Home Guard, Sharpe's Express & Duke of York are going in, I still have to source Colleen which we have grown each year.
There will be a lot more space given over to potatoes this year,it is a staple we use a lot of and with the recession continuing unabated we are going to grow produce we buy on a regular basis.
First earlies can be used within 12 weeks from sowing.
Second earlies 14 to 16 weeks and main crop at least 20 weeks and are suitable for storing over winter.
First earlies mean we can use the ground again from June onwards, which is a big bonus in a small space.
Spring is definitely on the way with new life showing up in the garden almost daily. My first crocus was alone for a couple of days but companions arrived even if they are all on the same plant!We are getting weather forecasts of more severe wintry weather for at least another month!
I have not sown any seed as yet, probably the first year we did not have the windowsills full up of seed trays at this time.If this cold snap is to continue then we will wait as I am sure all seeds will catch up once the ground warms up a little.The first seeds I will sow will be Broad beans, we had a great early crop of these last year.

Sharpe's Express chitting in their egg boxes.
The 'rose' end of the potato is turned up to the light to encourage it to sprout shoots. The rose end is the end with the most 'eyes'.When they are ready sprouted before planting it is generally believed to give the potatoes a head start.The egg boxes are ideal as they protect the new shoots when moving to the plot. I have also used seed trays with individual sections as the potatoes will hopefully be in the ground before I need the trays.
They should be in a position to get good light but not heat ( don't use the hot press) as the shoots will be weakened and spindly.
Regular readers of the blog over the last few years may remember thisBefore I put out the seed potatoes in the shed, I purchased this in the Co Op store, I put it out for about 5 nights and for 4 of the 5 all of the poison was taken only some being taken on the last night. I have left it out and SIL Nigel also set a trap for them. I have since put out the remainder of the seed potatoes and so far so good nothing has been damaged.
Elsewhere in the garden, the Spirea has buds on, I love the Spring colour of this shrub.
My 2 lupin plants had new growth when I cleared away the winter debris.

The Peony Rose had frost burned foliage but when clearing it I discovered lots of new shoots coming through, after hearing the forecast for more frosty weather I covered them with compost.


Catherine said…
Hi Peggy, tried to link to you earlier but had to restart as it was too slow - had to give old computer a rest. I've an award for you over at my blog if you want to drop by - it's a nice one and you might enjoy doing the task - not too onerous! Lovely to see the garden getting ready, I'm enjoying seeing the crocuses and daffs putting their heads up!
Catherine (Oh and I nominated you in the Specialist section of the Irish Blog Awards again this year - great Irish gardening blog!) so good luck!)
Kathleen said…
Love the new header photo! My lupin that I purchased in Peter Dowdalls last year has just started growing again,I had forgotten about it until I saw the shoots appear.I remembered then it came from some award winning nursery in Wexford,so at least its come back for a second year to me! My wallflowers are doing well too must get more.You will be having spuds with everything so this year!
Fantastic! My husband has been hoping that I'll plant loads of potatoes this year too (he is Irish...he misses home - and soda bread and potatoes!). My faves are the dutch cream and otway reds. Your tatoes would looooove chook poo!
Anonymous said…
Hi Peggy, sounds like you have the potato planting well in hand. And I can't wait to see your first potatoes, they're always so good! Since I can only have a garden in a few pots this year...I figured I'll spend more time at the little Mom and Pop Farmer's Markets around where I live. What a wonderful thing to see the Crocus coming up and the Peonies and the Spirea showing signs of new growth...spring is coming! Congratulations to you for your nomination...and ditto on the Good Luck! What did you decide about having chickens (chooks?)?
Susan said…
Hi Peggy- it looks like Catherine & I both have given you a Stylish Blogger award! :) You are held in high regard!
Spring is certainly on its way on your plot- such a great feeling. Enjoy growing!!
Isn't it heartening to see those first clear signs of strong healthy new growth! Spring is on its way, thankfully. It can never come soon enough for me.

Great post Peggy - really clear and informative for first time potato growers.

Have fun in the garden and stay warm.
Willow said…
It is good to see your gardening starts. I finally got my seeds and will be starting them inside this week. To me this is the beginning of a new year.
Ann said…
It's amazing what is coming through already isn't it, lots of plants don't mind the freezing winter at all. Still haven't been up to my veg plot so I don't know what's happening up there.
Linda said…
Looks like you are well on with growth,Peggy. That lupin foliage is incredible for this time of year - at least to my frozen northern view.
pharmacy said…
I just love "shopping time" but I don't know how to buy potatoes because they all are exactly equals and isn't easy to chose them.
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