The first early Home Guard potatoes planted outdoors in mid-March are between 20cm and 30 cm tall so need to be earthed up. (1) (2) This entails building a mound of the growing medium up around the stems to prevent the potatoes from being exposed to the sun which will turn them green. Rain often washes away the soil around the tubers which causes this to happen. Potatoes with green skins are poisonous. (3)
Unfortunately, the heavy frost of the 13th May did blacken the tips of some of the leaves and these have been removed. (4) Only one layer of old horticultural fleece was spread over them during the night and this was not sufficient. Each layer of even the lightest fleece is supposed to protect them by about 2 degrees centigrade.
It was quite a severe frost because some of the newly emerged ash leaves were also blackened. (5)
Second early new potatoes, Orla, which were planted five to a recycled large shopping bag in a 50:50 mixture of home-made compost and soil are making good progress. First earlies will be harvested in June; these will be harvested in July. (6)
Maincrop blight resistant Sarpo Mira potatoes were planted in a raised bed and in black polythene bin bags on the 14th April and are about 10cm tall. These will be harvested in September. (7) (8)