The evenings are noticeably brighter now and you might just be tempted to try your hand at some gardening. The ground is still cold and wet but you can get ahead by investing in some seed potatoes which are just available in the shops now. For minimal outlay you can have drills of organic nutritious vegetables.
Seed potatoes available at Vokes Adare 2016 all 5kg bags
Duke of York
Red Duke of York
Vokes Adare have sourced an easy step by step guide to growing your own potatoes.
How to chit
•Chitting simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout before planting.
•Start chitting from late January in warmer parts of the country or in February in cooler areas, about six weeks before you intend to plant out the potatoes.
•Each seed potato has a more rounded, blunt end that has a number of ‘eyes’.
•Stand the tubers with the blunt end uppermost in trays or old egg boxes, with plenty of natural light.
•The potatoes are ready to be planted out when the shoots are 1.5-2.5cm (0.5-1in) long.
How to plant
•Plant your chitted potatoes when the soil has started to warm up, usually from mid-March or early April. Start by digging a trench 7.5-13cm (3-5in) deep, although the exact depth should vary according to the variety of potato you’re planting.
•Add a light sprinkling of fertiliser to your trench before you begin planting.
•Plant early potatoes about 30cm (12in) apart with 40-50cm (16-20in) between the rows, and second earlies and maincrops about 38cm (15in) apart with 75cm (30in) between the rows.
•Handle your chitted tubers with care, gently setting them into the trench with the shoots pointing upwards, being careful not to break the shoots. Cover the potatoes lightly with soil.
•As soon as the shoots appear, earth up each plant by covering it with a ridge of soil so that the shoots are just buried.
•You need to do this at regular intervals and by the end of the season each plant will have a small mound around it about 15cm (6in) high.
(BBC gardening guides)