There's nothing quite as satisfying as the fresh flavour of newly dug potatoes lifted straight from your very own vegetable patch - which is why we're urging you to get growing this season! Before you grab your gardening gloves, lets spruce up your spud savvy!
First, get to know your spuds...
Seed potato: A potato that has been grown to be replanted to produce a potato crop.
First earlies: These produce smaller potatoes that can be used new, boiled, steamed or sauted.
Main crop: These produce larger varieties of potato for baking and roasting.
Tubers: Thickened underground part of a stem, serving as a food reserve and bearing buds from which new plants arise.
Chitting: Encouraging the potato to sprout early by placing it in a cool light place.
Rose end: The blunt end of a seed potato, with eyes from which the sprouts will form.
Preparation: Around the end of January, you will need to begin 'chitting' your seed potatoes, as this process takes several weeks. Stand them rose end up, in egg boxes or something similar and place in a light, frost-free place. The potatoes are ready to plant when the shoots are about 3cm (1in) long.
Planting: First earlies: around late March/Second earlies: early to mid-April/Maincrops: mid- to late April
Aftercare: To protect potatoes from frosts (which blacken the shoots and delay production), it's important to 'earth up' crops as the shoots emerge above ground.
Harvesting: Lifting times vary depending on a number of things for example: the growing season, weather conditions at harvest time and the size of tuber you want.