early maincrop potato
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Lift any potatoes gently, before the slugs get into them. Lift on a dry day and allow potatoes to dry on the surface of the soil for two or three hours before bagging them up sacks, or put them in boxes in a frost-proof, mice-proof shed
- Position: sun-partial shade
- Soil: fertile, well drained
- Rate of growth: fast-growing
- Harvesting period: July onwards
- Hardiness: protect tubers from frost
Forming part of the new breed of sarpo potatoes, which show an excellent resistance to blight and potato virus, this early maincrop cultivar is also resistant to drought. 'Kifli' will produce tasty, white-skinned potatoes that have a particularly good flavour when harvested and cooked straight away. More mature tubers still maintain a good flavour though, so they can be harvested over a long period. It is known to be a slow starter, so it is best started off a little earlier than you normally would.
- Garden care: As soon as the potato tubers have been delivered you should unpack them and start the chitting (sprouting) process. Place them in single layer in a seed tray without compost and leave in a light, cool area protected from frost. This can be started about six weeks before you intend to plant them. Early varieties can be planted out under frost fleece protection, but the later varieties should be planted after the worst frosts have passed in your area - this is generally mid March to mid April. Dig a trench 8 - 13cm (3 - 5in) deep adding a general purpose fertiliser to the bottom of the trench. Plant the potato tubers in the trenches about 30cm (12in) apart, being careful not to knock the shoots off the tubers, and keeping the shoots facing upwards. Then lightly cover with soil. As the plants get to around 20cm (8in) tall you need to bank up the soil around the plant, so the soil covers the bottom two thirds of the plant. Watering your plants well will help improve crop yield and discourage potato scab.
br>Photography of potato 'Sarpo Kifli' courtesy Alan Romans