We’ve started shipping seed potatoes. You won’t need to plant them until early spring, usually in late March/early April. So, if you’ve received yours, the best thing to do now is to start chitting them. Meanwhile, you can start warming the soil ready to plant them out next month.
Here’s a very quick explanation of how to do both these things:
How to Chit Seed Potatoes:
Put the seed potatoes into an opened egg box, one in each space with any small shoots (or knobbly bits that look like they might soon become shoots) that you can see pointing upwards. Place the egg box with the seed potatoes in a light, cool place for a little while. A windowsill will do the trick. In a few weeks the shoots will have grown quite a lot and your seed potato will be ready to plant.
How to Warm the Soil:
If you’ve already decided where you will be growing your potatoes, you can start warming the soil. First, pull up any weeds, perhaps dig over the soil if it needs it, and then cover the bed with black polythene (be careful to secure it down well at the sides to stop it from being blown around or ripped in the wind, and you’ll then find it can be re-used several times.) The polythene will trap warmth when the sun is shining, and the soil will warm faster than if it was exposed to the elements. You can then plant out earlier.
A few other things:
If you haven’t yet ordered/received your seed potatoes, don’t panic. It is perfectly fine to order them a little later on, and if you don’t have time to chit them you can plant them straight out in April when the soil is warmer and they will grow faster and give you a good yield regardless.
If you plan to grow in containers of compost, plan for 5 seed potatoes to a large, deep bucket/container measuring approx 60-70cm wide. If buying compost in bags, leave in the bag until you are ready to plant as the compost will stay warmer and more weed-free that way. If you have a compost pile in the garden to use, then that would be worth covering to help it warm up.