New Potatoes Maris Peer
Potatoes are very easy and rewarding to grow. They love rich soil. So add plenty of compost or manure if you want a bumper crop.
Maris Peer are 'Second Early' potatoes, which means they're quick growing. They're a much safer bet than slower growing 'maincrop' varieties (like King Edward) which can easily rot from potato blight.
Time from seed to plate: 12 weeks
It's best to encourage your potatoes to produce new shoots before you put them in the ground. Do this by saving up a few egg cartons and placing a potato in each compartment, standing so that the end with the most 'eyes' is pointing upwards. Put them in a cool, dry and bright place for about 4 weeks, and new shoots will emerge. The process is called 'Chitting'. (If you haven't got time, or can't be bothered, just bung them in your soil un-chitted - they'll still grow very well!)
Plant them from March to mid-April. Potatoes are very hungry feeders, so make sure you've got lots of compost or manure in the soil. You only want to leave the four biggest shoots on each potato, so rub the others off. Create a hole with your trowel, and place a potato in, ensuring the top's at least 6in deep.
Follow the spacing plan, leaving at least 12in between each spud.
Potatoes grow fast because they've got stacks of energy stored up inside them. When the first shoots are about 6in high drag soil up from either side to practically bury them, just leaving a few leaves showing. This tricks the plant into producing more potatoes and protects them from frost.
You can start harvesting in June/July when they begin to flower. Dig up the whole plant or just drag off a few spuds with your hands leaving the plant alive - aka 'Grabbling'.
Carry on digging them up as you need them. Once they're all gone the rich soil left behind will be perfect for other crops like Lettuces, Leeks and Florence Fennel.