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Growing First Early Potatoes

Potatoes are easy to grow and usually ready to harvest after they have flowered. At 10-12 weeks, pull some soil aside to check if tubers are ready and lift the roots carefully with a fork.
Excerpted from Simple Steps: Vegetable Gardening

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Early Red Potatoes Harvested After Few Weeks

Highlights:

Step 1: Prep the Seed Potatoes

In late winter, place your seed potatoes in egg cartons or trays with the maximum number of buds (eyes) pointing upward. Stand the boxes in a cool, light place indoors for about six weeks to produce sturdy, dark sprouts (chitting).

Place Seed Potatoes in Egg Carton to Sprout

Courtesy of DK - Vegetable Gardening © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 2: Plant the Tubers

When shoots reach about 1 in (2.5 cm) long, in early spring, mark a row in prepared soil. At 12-in (30-cm) intervals, dig holes about 4 in (10 cm) deep and plant a single tuber in each, with its shoots pointing upward (Image 1).

Tip for success: Potatoes do well in large pots (Image 2). Plant chitted tubers in a pot half-full of potting mix. When shoots emerge, add more mix to fill.

Step 3: Fill the Holes

Fill each hole with soil, rake over the row, and mark its position. A general-purpose fertilizer can also be applied at the specified rate on either side of the row at this stage, or it may be worked into the soil before planting.

Rake Over Seed Potatoes and Cover with Soil

Courtesy of DK - Vegetable Gardening © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 4: Earth Up the Plants

Tubers exposed to light will turn green, making them toxic and inedible. To avoid this, earth up the plants as they emerge by mounding soil around their stems to a height of around 6 in (15 cm).

Turn Soil Around Young Emerging Potato Plants

Courtesy of DK - Vegetable Gardening © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Vegetable Gardening

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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