Plant early potatoes

And you'll harvest tasty spuds from June

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There is nothing nicer than the first new potatoes of the season dug fresh from the garden.  Early varieties of potato grow fast and planting to harvesting is around 13 weeks, depending on the variety and the soil temperature. For the tubers to start growing the soil needs to be warming up. Planting time varies depending where you live, but for much of the country late March and early April is when we’d normally start to plant. However, this year with the cold weather and snow, if you feel your soil is still too cold and wet, hold back for another week or so before you plant. In cold soil conditions the tubers will simply sit there and possibly rot! When it comes to varieties, there’s plenty to choose from and a few popular first early potatoes include ‘Rocket’, ‘Red Duke of York’, ‘Accent’, ‘Swift’ and ‘Aaron Pilot’. All have their own distinctive flavour and texture, so ideally grow more than one variety to try them.

Potatoes that have been ‘chitted’ in a light cool place to produce shoots, will start to grow faster, but if you’ve not already started them into growth, don’t worry as they will still grow. Plant into well prepared soil spacing the tubers 30cm (12in) apart. Alternatively, they grow well in pots of compost.