Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about buying, preparing and growing your own potatoes we receive here at JBA.
(Q) My potato shaws/haulms have small tomato growing on them will they cause any problems and are they edible?
(A) Some varieties of potato produce a tomato like fruit and these will not cause any harm to your crop. However they are highly poisonous and should never be eaten.
(Q) Some of my shaws/haulms have flowers on them and some don’t.
(A) Not all varieties of potatoes produce flowers so this is nothing to worry about.
(Q) When are my potatoes ready to harvest?
(A) The only way to tell when they are ready to harvest is to have a little dig at one shaw and see what size they are. If you are using potato planter bags then you can easily feel inside and check on the size of the potatoes.
(Q) I have dark brown patches on some of the leaves of my potato shaws/haulm, is it blight?
(A) It sounds like blight but there is an easy way to tell by using one of my blight tester kits.
(Q) How can I prevent blight as much as possible?
(A) You can use a fungicide product called Dithane 945 to help combat blight. The best way of using this product is to use it weekly as a prevention to blight and if you have any doubts then use the blight tester kit.
(Q) I have used the blight tester kit and it is blight on the crop, what can I do?
(A) Chop the shaws/haulms off about 2″ above the ground and spray the Dithane 945 onto the exposed soil and remaining haulm. Hopefully this will prevent any further spread but it may require the removal of all the haulms from your potato crop if not successful. Remove all infected shaws from your plot as they will be a cause of contamination.
(Q) When do I plant my potatoes?
(A) Potatoes are traditionally planted between St Patricks day and Good Friday but it can be totally dependant on weather conditions.
(Q) What is the difference between first earlies, second earlies and maincrops?
(A) Potatoes are classed by the length of time it takes them to mature. First earlies mature in 70-90 days. Second earlies mature in 90-110 days and maincrops mature in 110-145 days.
(Q) Do you plant earlies and maincrops at different times?
(A) No you should plant all your seed potatoes at the same time as the potatoes naturally mature at different times.