Rosie, from Norton, Stockton, has emailed. She fancies growing a selection of potatoes in a patch at the bottom of her garden. She has never grown them before and would like to know the basics.

YOU really can’t beat the taste of potatoes that you have just lifted from your garden. And the good news is that growing your own needn’t be a chore.

You have to put in a bit of effort at the beginning, but a little hard work goes a long way. Like any root crop, potatoes find it difficult to grow in compacted, stony ground. Choose an open, well-drained, sunny spot and dig over the soil, breaking up clods of earth and removing stones. Work in plenty of compost and well-rotted manure. You don’t need to add any feed during growing.

Ideally, you should dig your potato patch in the winter, giving it time to settle before planting in the spring, but you can do this job in the early spring if you have to. However, it’s wise not to plant potatoes where they have been grown in the past three years as this encourages the build-up of diseases.

The easiest way is to buy seed potatoes raised for the purpose and certified free from disease. Earlies should be “chitted” before planting.

Find a light, airy position indoors and place the tubers in a seed tray or egg box, with the sprouting ends uppermost, about six weeks before planting. Plant them in the ground or in raised beds or tubs at about 6in deep.

When they have put up a good display of greenery, cover most of the plant with fresh soil (earthing up). This prevents the tubers from being exposed to the light and turning green (and inedible). Then wait until they have finished flowering and harvest at will.

There are three types of potato: early, second early and maincrop.

They are planted at the same time, but harvested at different times of the year. Earlies include Pentland Javelin and Arran Pilot and, best of all, Anya.

Estima and Kestrel are reliable second earlies. Try Cara and Maxine for maincrops, or go for delicious Pink Fir.

■ The Durham Organic Gardening Association holds its annual potato weekend tomorrow, at Bowburn Community Centre and on Sunday, at Nature’s World, Middlesbrough.

Both days start at 10am and finish when all the tubers are sold. There will be more than 29 varieties of seed potatoes on sale, along with growing advice.

Brigid presents the BBC Tees Gardening show on Sundays from 1pm to 2pm. Questions can be answered on the day by emailing any time during the week, or by texting 07786- 200995 or phoning 01642-225511 during the show. Letters can be addressed to Lazy Dayz,10 Farm Road, Houghall, Durham, DH1 3SF.