How do I grow potatoes?
Potatoes are a great vegetable if you are just starting out with grow your own. They can be grown in any space and need sunlight and frost free conditions. You need not be worried about how to grow potatoes. The only question you really need to ask yourself is which type of potatoes should I grow? The Choice is between ‘Earlies’ and ‘Maincrops’. These names basically tell you when they need to be cropped and also give you an indication of the space you’ll need, how closely and when the potatoes can be planted.
If you are short of space you should concentrate on Early potato varieties such as Duke of York, Annabelle and Swift. They will provide new potatoes in summer. They are usually planted between January and March and are ready for digging from May to July.
Earlies are also less likely to encounter pest problems as they are lifted so much earlier in the year. Short on space, why not try growing your early Swift Seed potatoes in a potato grow bag.
Maincrop take up the most space in the garden and the varieties will provide tubers for storage during the winter months. Planted in Mid April, these potatoes will be ready for digging in August and for storage in September. Varieties include Desiree, King Edward and Maris Piper.
I grew potatoes last year and they were soft and Spongy, how do I avoid this?
If you have grown potatoes before and they have ended up soft and spongy, this is simply down to them being dehydrated. Watering them every day in hot weather is important. Do not let the leaves wilt or look tired, just like any plant, keep them fed, watered and warm!
What kind of soil do I need?
From a strip of land to a field, potatoes are easy to please and will grow in most soils. Spuds are also one of the best things to grow to improve the soil. Their roots and regular hoeing break up compacted soil and the dense canopy of the potato leaves is a great weed suppressant.
What is Chitting?
Before planting your potatoes it is a good idea to ‘Chit’ them. Chitting simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout before planting. You need to start chitting about six weeks before you intend to plant out the potatoes. Each seed potato has a more rounded, blunt end that has a number of ‘eyes’. Stand the tubers with the blunt end uppermost in trays or old egg boxes, with plenty of natural light. The shoots will grow and will be ready to be planted out when they are 0.5 to 1nch long.
How do I plant my seed potatoes?
You should plant your chitted potatoes when your soil has started to warm up. A good indicator is usually mid March or early April, but it will depend on the weather.
You need to have a v –shaped trench about 3inches deep, although this will vary depending on the type of potato you are planting. Make sure you add some feed/fertiliser in the soil and ensure that there is a good helping of manure. Products which will help include fertiliser and horse manure.
Planting your earlies about 12inches apart is a good guide and plant your second earlies and maincrops around 15inches apart. Make sure you handle your chitted potatoes with care as the shoots will be extremely delicate. Place them into the trench with the shoots facing up and cover potatoes light with soil.
It is important to get your potatoes growing strongly and covering the shoots over with soil until you have a mound of around 6inches is a good guide.
Remember keep them watered, warm and frost free!
If you are struggling for space, why not plant your potatoes in an old tyre or veg planter?
Growing Potatoes in your garden!
Delicious potatoes fresh from the garden ….. and so easy to grow!
Growing potatoes is easy provided you follow a few simple rules and the first of these is to plant the highest quality potato seed. All our seed potatoes originate from specialist potato growers and are grown in the climate and conditions necessary to ensure the seed is healthy and free from pests and diseases
You can grow potatoes anywhere, whether you have large space or even an old tyre!
Here at Park Garden Centres we have a huge variety of potatoes on offer!
Annabelle Potatoes (first early)
Annabelle potatoes produce a good crop of long, medium sized oval tubers. They have a distinct waxy flesh which is a mouth-watering buttery yellow
The Annabelle potato is good for steaming, sautéing and making salads. They are also perfect for making potato salads.
The plants have a tidy and compact habit. This first early variety of potato is great for growing in compact spaces such as pots or containers and is harvestable in May and June.
Available at Cheddar Garden Centre.
Accord seed potatoes are an exceptional variety which quickly produces a large crop of uniform oval tubers with shallow eyes. They have a creamy flesh which is firm and tasty.
The Accord potato is good for boiling, steaming, sautéing and new potatoes.
Accord have a good disease resistance and is easy to grow making it an ideal choice for growing without the need for chemicals.
Available at Almondsbury Garden Centre.
For decades the Arran Pilot seed potato has been a UK favourite First Early.
The Arran Pilot is white skinned and white fleshed with a firm, waxy texture and lovely flavor. It is best appreciated when cooked straight from the garden.
The Arran Pilot seed potato prove a medium yield and is perfect for boiling, roasting and salads.
The Rocket potato has pure white flesh, which is waxy and soft at first digging. The Rocket potato is very easy to grow has a good size of crop and has been known to win awards for its exhibition quality round tubers.
The Rocket potato provides a very high yield and is perfect for boiling, roasting and salads.
An excellent first early variety that can be dug around 8 weeks from planting. The smooth creamy tubers are very attractive and are good for exhibition. Freshly dug and boiled there is no finer taste and tubers are firm and waxy. First Early variety. Flesh Colour – Yellow. Uses – new, boil, steam and saute. RHS Award of Garden Merit. Our seed potatoes are inspected by the relevant certifying authority and that number is featured on the bag labels (within riddle size 35mm x 60mm). This eliminates over-large and very small potatoes.
A very well known early for digging after the very first potatoes have finished. Bard has soft waxy creamy white flesh and a distinctive slightly earthy taste. High yielding and reliable. First Early variety. Flesh Colour – Cream. Uses – new, boil, steam, mash and saute. Our seed potatoes are inspected by the relevant certifying authority and that number is featured on the bag labels (within riddle size 35mm x 60mm). This eliminates over-large and very small potatoes.
Uniform, shallow-eyed, long-oval tubers 50% bigger than other salad varieties.
Tender creamy-yellow flesh remains very firm and has a mouth-watering flavour hot or in salads!
Still our favourite salad potato and still regularly recommended by top chefs!
This red skinned, yellow fleshed maincrop produces heavy crops of bold tubers, even in dry seasons.
These have a waxy texture and excellent flavour.
Wonderful for baking and lovely mashed, it stores well.#
Juilette Seed Potatoes
This has become very popular with all who have tried it.
The creamy, long oval tubers, are superb in
a potato salad flavoured with mayonnaise and a few freshly chopped chives.
Yields are excellent, with a high number of tubers per plant which have good blight and eelworm resistance.
Second Early for July lifting. With its extra smooth skin with attractive purple eyes this variety has time and time again been a prize winner at many an exhibition.
Makes good chips and roasts well because the soft flesh does not absorb much fat. Good old-fashioned flavour.
Consistently shows good resistance to slugs and blackleg.
An old but still very popular traditional variety and deservedly so.
The oval tubers have attractive red splashes over the eyes.
Ideal for baking and roasting.
This Second Early has firm white flesh, which does not break up or discolour on cooking.
Expect heavy yields of medium sized tubers, which are good boiled.
If harvested when small they are particularly good for making potato salads.
It makes a really handsome plant with remarkable scented purple flowers – the perfect patio potato.
Pink and white tubers with floury white flesh.
The shallow eyed tubers will be appreciated in the kitchen and on the show-bench.
Heavy cropper, excellent for long storage. Good blight resistance.
The earliest we have seen – producing a good crop of waxy white potatoes with a delicate new potato taste in as little as 7 weeks from planting.
Note: Swift has a very short haulm.
We recommend planting closer (9-10in) than other early potatoes and keep especially well watered.
Thanks for reading our blog and if you would like any further information about growing seed potatoes or indeed, any potatoes, get in touch.
All the best,