Gardening: Don’t dig deep, dig up your dinner

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ROASTED, mashed, baked or simply boiled, it’s difficult to find a more delicious or versatile treat than the humble potato.

Easy and satisfying to grow, this crop often yields fantastic results. February is the perfect month to plant these tasty tubers – even if you don’t have a garden.

Whether you’re a green-fingered guru or a gardening novice, growing your own veggies, whether it’s tatties or tarragon, is one of the best ways to put your green foot forward. It’s also amazing how good food can taste when there are only a few minutes between picking and cooking.

To get started on growing potatoes, you will need seed potatoes, seed trays or egg boxes, a garden fork, a garden spade, fertiliser and a watering can.

Plant manager at Dobbies Garden World, Duncan Cuthill, offers some top tips on how to grow your own fresh spuds.

He says: “There are dozens of different potato varieties, usually described as early, second early and maincrop potatoes.

“Main crops take up the most space in the garden, but they tend to be the best.

“Before planting you will need to ‘chit’ potatoes – which simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout.

“Water your potatoes regularly, especially if there’s little rain through the growing season. Potatoes growing in containers will need more water than those in the ground.

“After six weeks the sprouts should be about 5cm long and ready to plant. Cover the bottom of the sack or container with a layer of compost 10cm deep. Position two or three potatoes on the surface of the compost and cover with 15cm of compost. Water well and put in a bright, sheltered position.

“You’ll know it’s time to harvest your potatoes when the plants flower and foliage is still green. Use a garden fork to dig up the plants, taking care not to damage the precious crop with the prongs.”

• For more tattie-growing tips, head along to one of Dobbies’ Garden Grow-How sessions throughout February – and be sure to check out Greener Scotland’s website for the tastiest in season recipes using the tastiest spuds!