Check for rogue potatoes

With quite a mild autumn you may find that some surprise plants shoot up where you were growing potatoes this summer. You may decide to let them grow, but have a read of this first…

These rogue potatoes are called ‘volunteers’ which makes them sound very helpful. They can grow from any old tuber – a rotting one, a tiny one, one that’s broken, even a bit of old peel. They can also grow from diseased tubers and by diseased we mostly mean tubers affected by blight.

If your potatoes suffered from blight last year, then our recommendation would be to pull up any volunteers that you find at the moment. Blight spreads so easily and if you intend to grow a good crop of spuds next year then it’ll be better starting off with a clean slate.

If you grew a blight free crop, then there’s no harm in leaving them to grow if you want. What you’ll find is that they a) grow in slightly peculiar spacing so you won’t have nice, neat rows and b) they’ll have a lower yield. Still, it’s fun to give it a go and see what happens if you can afford the space – we always think that experimenting in the veg patch in this way is the best way to learn.