Earlies can be planted anytime from around mid March and even sooner in the mildest regions. Maincrops can then be planted from early April. Do not be tempted to plant too soon if conditions are not favourable – seed planted into moist warming soil (minimum 7˚C, 45˚F) will do well and invariably overtake that planted sooner into cold wet conditions.
To plant, draw out shallow trenches 10-15cm (4-6in) deep in rows 60cm (24in) apart and plant seed tubers at a spacing of 38cm (15in). If earlies are being planted these distances can be reduced such that rows are 50cm (20in) apart and tubers are spaced at 30cm (12in) as earlies need less space due to their shorter growing season. Draw the soil over the seed potatoes using a rake or hoe to cover and form ridges over the rows. Provided soil is moist watering should not be necessary at this stage.