Are you a Primary School who would like to get the children involved in growing potatoes?
If you have answered yes to this question, then have a look at the Grow Your Own Potatoes website and register before Friday, January 29th 2016, for a potato growing pack containing all you need to grow potatoes at your School including: seed potatoes, grow bags, instructions, stickers and a weather chart, Schools can register up to 4 classes to take part!
Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) was launched in 2005 and is now one of the largest growing projects of its kind with over 2 million children taking part and learning where potatoes come from, how they grow and how healthy they actually are.
If you tend and care for your potatoes and they grow well you can win prizes for:
- The heaviest crop of Rocket Potatoes
- The heaviest crop of the regional potato variety
- The heaviest individual potato grown
- The largest number of tubers (potatoes) produced from three seed potatoes
If you are entering the competition you will need to use the seed potatoes and the grow bags supplied in your Potato Growing Pack.
Visit the Grow your own Potatoes website for more information and to register your school.
If you are not a Primary School, but would still like to have fun growing potatoes here is what you will need:
- 4/5 Seed Potatoes
- Egg tray/box
- Potato Growing Bag/Container (40 litres or larger)
- Good Quality Multi-purpose Compost
- Watering Can
What you need to do
- Once you get your ‘seed’ potatoes put them into egg trays/boxes with the ‘rose’ end upwards, this is where you might see tiny shoots or the ‘belly button’ end facing downwards and place them in a frost-free light (not sunny) room, this is called chitting and helps the potato to produce strong shoots, which speeds up growing once they are planted, when the shoots are about 2-3cm they are ready to plant.
- Fill your bag with compost to a depth of 10cm
- Place 4/5 seed potatoes, with the shoots facing upwards, on top of your compost equally spaced out so that they don’t touch each other.
- Add another 10 cm layer of good quality potting compost and water well.
- Position the bag somewhere sunny and sheltered, on cold nights cover the bag with protective Fleece to prevent frost damage.
- As the leaves emerge cover with more Compost and repeat until you reach the top of the bag.
- Potatoes need to be kept well watered but not soggy.
- First Early varieties – plant from end of February until end of May, harvest in approx. 10 weeks
- Second Early varieties – plant from March until late May, harvest in approx. 13 weeks
- Early Maincrop varieties – planted from March until late May, harvest in approx. 15 weeks
- Maincrop varieties – plant from March until mid May, harvest in approx. 20 weeks
Children love growing potatoes there is something magical about planting a potato, watering and feeding it and then when it has grown digging it up and finding lots more delicious potatoes.
So get growing and have some fun