When is the best time to plant my potatoes?

When is the best time to plant my potatoes?

First of the seasons new potatoes are easily grown with our planting guide

Nothing you buy in the supermarket can compare to the taste of your own home grown potatoes; especially the first new potatoes of the season. There are 3 classes of potatoes: 1st Earlies, 2nd Earlies and Maincrop.

1st Earlies are planted from the end of February to late May, and take about 10 weeks until they are ready to harvest; this will depend upon the weather, if it is particularly cold they will take longer. These benefit from being ‘chitted’; stand them on end in an egg box and plant them when they have produced shoots about 2.5cm (1”) long. These usually produce a smaller crop than maincrop potatoes but are unbeatable for taste at the beginning of the season. They are ideal if space is at a premium as they can be grown in bags and containers. ‘Rocket’ is a heavy cropper and one of the quickest to produce small ‘new’ potatoes. ‘Arran Pilot’ produces firm, waxy potatoes and is one of the traditional reliable varieties with an excellent taste.

2nd Earlies are planted from March to late May and produce a crop about 13 weeks after planting. These benefit from ‘chitting’ and are suitable for bags and containers. ‘Charlotte’ has an excellent flavour and produces lots of small to medium sized salad potatoes. If you want an all-round potato which produces a large crop then ‘Jazzy’ is worth a try.

Potato flowers

Maincrop potatoes are the ones you grow to store over the winter. They are planted from March to mid-May and take about 20 weeks to mature. They are not really suitable for bags and containers as they produce a large crop and need the space growing them in the ground provides. To store them through winter, brush off as much soil as possible, don’t wash them, let them dry and keep them somewhere cool but frost free and dark with a good airflow. ‘King Edwards’ are a good reliable old favourite. ‘Desiree’ is one of the best all-round reds with good drought resistance.

If you would like more information about growing potatoes just get in touch with our gardening team in the Outdoor Plant department here in store.

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.