Potatoes are hungry and thirsty plants, so it is essential to prepare the growing area well. Whether you’re sowing seed potatoes in soil or a polytunnel, preparing your growing area will help you get a good harvest. To ensure the best results, it helps to dig trenches in your soil or raised beds before sowing.
Planting seed potatoes in a polytunnel
Potatoes are a simple way to increase your vegetable yields and can be grown in a polytunnel. They take up less space than most other plants and can be planted as close together as 30cm. You can use staging to maximise space in your polytunnel. Maincrop potatoes should be planted around 40cm apart and 75cm apart in rows.
If you’re planting early seed potatoes in a polytunnels, it’s best to do it between March and April. After about a month, you’ll begin to see sprouts. If the weather is cold enough, this process may take longer. You’ll then need to plant your main crops in mid or late April. These crops will typically be ready to harvest between August and October.
The beds for seed potatoes should be prepared well for planting. Remove any summer crops or weeds and a moderate amount of organic matter should be added. Make sure the soil is moist but not soggy, as too wet soil can rot the tubers.
Planting seed potatoes is a simple process. When the seed potatoes start to sprout, they will start to push up green, leafy stalks. These shoots can be anywhere from eight to twenty inches long. You should water them regularly and cover the potato shoots with soil. Then, add a well-balanced liquid fertilizer to the soil.
Protecting young potatoes from frost
Protecting young potatoes from frost is critical during the early stages of growth. Young potatoes stick out of the soil, so covering them with plastic wrap or white spunbond will prevent early frost damage. Alternatively, use plastic or glass cloches. Cloches can be made from scrap fabric, plastic bottles, or horticultural fleece. It is also important to water seedlings heavily the night before to prevent early freezing.
Young potatoes can be grown indoors, but they are space-hungry and may interfere with other crops. They are best planted outdoors in February and should be given plenty of water. Potatoes need to be protected from frost as they are frost-tender. It is also a good idea to drape horticultural fleece over young shoots to protect them from frost.
Protecting young potatoes from frost is essential to ensure a successful harvest. Plants that are too early for hilling may not have enough growth to bear the crop. This can be avoided by mulching the soil to keep young potatoes warm. The mulch will decompose and help improve the structure of the soil.
Late frost can also damage potatoes. The foliage loses the ability to transpire water once it is below freezing, which causes the plant to suffer severe damage. However, there are methods to protect young potatoes from frost while growing in a polytunnel. If the soil is cultivated in a raised bed, digging a trench is helpful.