If you want a really early crop of potatoes consider planting early potatoes in the greenhouse in December.
You can grow a really early crop of tasty potatoes when everybody else is still eating the old ones from the previous season. Planting early potatoes in December in a greenhouse makes use of unused space and you can harvest a nice early crop.
We live in a mild area
with little frost in coastal Ireland and this method works very well for
us even with our unheated greenhouses. With a few tricks you should be
able to grow them in colder areas as well.
Often times greenhouse space is not very well used during this time of the year anyway. If you plant them in December they should be ready by the end of May before the new crops are planted. This way the valuable greenhouse space is used much more efficiently.
Growing early potatoes is not as productive as the maincrops but it yields some really tasty early potatoes you will be envied for!
Another way to get potatoes earlier is to chit them indoors for several weeks.
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The procedure of planting these early potatoes is the same as for maincrops with a few little tweaks.
a good variety of first early seed potatoes. We always had great success with
'Colleen' as an early variety. They are very healthy and taste very
If they are not available in your area that early consider keeping some healthy tubers from the previous season for this purpose.
Prepare the ground as usual. We like to add seaweed powder, compost, and some organic fertilizer. Plant the tubers about 6-8 inches deep. Here are more tips for planting potatoes.
To protect them from frost we cover the beds with a thick layer of mulch covered with a garden fleece. The fleece helps to warm the soil and protects from light frosts at night.
If you live in a very cold area you can set up a hotbed that generates heat under the potatoes. If that is covered up with mulch and fleece it should keep the potatoes warm enough to protect them from frost damage.
Don't forget to water the beds from time to time. You should see some shoots starting to emerge by late January. They won't grow as fast though as later on in the season because of low light and short days during this time of the year. Growth will pick up in February as the days get longer and the sun gains a bit more strength.
We don't earth these early potatoes up because they are covered with a thick layer of mulch that protects them from the late frosts as well as light that will turn the tubers green.
Check them around mid-May for the size of the tubers and enjoy these really early and delicious potatoes.
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