Potatoes for Christmas
I was wondering if September is a good time to get some spuds into the garden to be ready for Christmas day?
Yes, you can plant potatoes at this time of the year, especially in Dunedin. Preparation is critical to the success of your crop. The site should be north facing, free draining and the rows for the potatoes should be slightly mounded to ensure excess rainfall does not pool around the newly planted potatoes.
If your soil is particularly heavy (clay based), plenty of compost should be incorporated into the soil prior to planting to improve drainage.
Purchase some seed potatoes (available at your local garden centre) of the variety you wish to grow. Plant them approximately 20cm apart and five to eight centimetres below ground level and if possible there should be about 70cm between rows.
As the potato shoots appear through the soil, regularly mound up the soil around the young plants. This ‘mounding up process’ helps warm the soil so the plants grow more quickly, while also protecting against late frost and most importantly, preventing the greening of your young potatoes as they form. It will also ensure you have home-grown potatoes on your table at Christmas time!