Edible garden: A spud of your own

By Janice Marriott

Now's the time to plant spuds, says Janice Marriott.

Start planting now for potatoes in your own backyard. Photo / Neville Marriner
Start planting now for potatoes in your own backyard. Photo / Neville Marriner

There's early blossom around. Spring is coming. Time to buy everyone's favourite vegetable: the potato.

Leave seed potatoes out of the bag to sprout for a few weeks, but not in direct sun as this can burn them. I wouldn't advise using tyres as growing containers, as they can leach heavy metals.

Some people wait for a full moon before planting spuds. Whether or not this has a beneficial effect on the potatoes, it must be a wondrous experience for the gardener to be digging holes by moonlight. Just let the neighbours know in case they think you're burying something more sinister than tubers.

Plant the sprouted potatoes in rich garden soil. After the leaves break through, hope there isn't a late frost. As the stems grow, mound the soil up to just below the leaves and cover the mound with straw. The reason for this is that you don't want any of the growing potatoes to be exposed to the light. Light turns potatoes green and green potatoes are poisonous.

My favourite varieties are Agria, Ilam Hardy, Desiree, Jersey Benne, Cliffs Kidney. Or try the new Purple Passion. It has purple skin and creamy-white flesh and will be ready for Christmas Day.

- NZ Herald

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