Dare to plant your new potatoes this week: as frosts look less and less likely, you can take the risk to bring forward the moment when you can harvest those mouthwatering little nuggets of sheer flavour for your tea.
If you haven’t already got a tray or two chitting (forming sprouts) in eggboxes on a windowsill, it’s not too late to pop down to the garden centre here in Pickering and pick up a packet of first early seed potatoes.
Prepare your bed well, removing weeds and large stones and digging in plenty of organic matter, then dig a trench about 30cm deep and 15cm wide. Stand your tubers in the bottom with the end with the most ‘eyes’ uppermost, about 45cm apart, then back-fill with soil.
Guard carefully against frost, as it’ll kill off any top growth straight away: though it won’t kill the plant, it’ll wipe out your head start and you’ll have to wait longer for your harvest. So cover the bed with a double layer of fleece, and earth up emerging shoots, drawing soil over the top to give an added layer of protection. With a bit of luck, you’ll have your first scrummy new potatoes to enjoy in double-quick time. Don’t forget the butter!