Good time to prepare potatoes

Gardeners should dust off their gloves and get back out into the garden and greenhouse as the growing season will soon be upon us.

One of the first things to focus on should be buying and preparing any seeds required for planting, according to the Daily Telegraph.

As one of the more popular crops in the UK, potato seeds will be a priority for many gardeners.

To prepare the seeds for planting, gardeners should carry out a process known as potato-chitting.

"Place your early potatoes on egg boxes or trays in a cool, frost-free shed "rose" end up to allow the tubers to develop firm shoots," the newspaper advised.

"Sprouts will form within a few weeks and help newly planted tubers race away when planted out in spring."

Keeping the plants indoors until spring will protect them from frost and a cool greenhouse can be used in place of a shed.

The paper suggests potatoes can then be planted outside in April and those planning to keep growing the crop next year should dig up some "earlies" in late June.

Varieties which mature in June should be eaten soon after harvest to maintain the subtle flavour and texture, according to the Royal Horticultural Society.