Our Step by Step guide for growing seed potatoes
If you’re new to the world of Seed Potatoes, it can seem like a daunting prospect. How do you know which variants to choose? what suits you most, First Early, Second Early or Maincrop? The list of questions can be endless, so our experts have compiled this guide to give some information about growing, caring for and eventually harvesting your Seed Potatoes. Helping you on your way toward your first successful crop.
Growing seed potatoes
Always use healthy classified seed potatoes! Classified Basic Seed Potatoes are the highest grade of seed potatoes available.
Our seed potatoes are of the highest quality, they have all the legally required information available including classification number, grade, size, certifying authority and many other details.
Unwrap the seed potatoes and place in a shallow tray or egg tray in a cool, light, frost free place, several weeks prior to planting.
The seed potatoes will develop strong sprouts (chits) which will help them grow quickly once planted. This is a helpful but not essential process.
Growing potatoes is easy! Dig the potato plot in autumn or spring, so that seed potatoes can be easily planted once soil temperatures are over 8°C.
See the table for comprehensive planting information.
When potatoes have emerged a few inches, pull earth around the plant with a rake, leaving peaked rows.
Earthing-up gives the plant more soil to grow in, stops sunlight turning exposed tubers green and improves drainage. It is also a quick and effective way of controlling weeds.
Repeat the process as required, until the foliage is too big.
Before harvesting, carefully scrape away some soil and check that the potatoes have grown to the size that you like.
First Earlies are best enjoyed when they are small and fresh in June/July/August and Second Earlies follow on.
Maincrop varieties are best left until October for size and skin set. Once the Maincrop foliage has died back the potatoes should be left in the ground for 2-3 weeks to allow the skins to set, ready for storing.
Harvesting times by Potato type
First Earlies – 65-100 days
Second Earlies – 100-130 days
Maincrop – 125-180 days
(These are guidelines dependant on planting date and growing conditions).
Storing your Potatoes
Dry the tubers by laying them on the soil for a few hours once you’ve dug them up.
Some varieties (generally Maincrop) are good keepers and will remain dormant and not start sprouting until April.
The storage conditions should be cool, frost free, airy and away from light as this can cause greening. Hessian sacks allow for excellent air circulation , paper sacks are good but avoid plastic.
Be weary of Blight
Join the “Fight Against Blight”; a Potato Council campaign to help gardeners avoid the disappointment of blight. Get the latest information and great tips by following the link below.
Growing in containers
A container 45cm (18in) deep and 40cm (16in) in diameter holds 2 seed potatoes.
Choose a sunny, frost-free spot for your containers and then proceed to plant your Seed Potatoes.
Planting in containers
Fill the base with 10cm (4in) of compost mixed with perlite to aid drainage. Add the seed potatoes and cover with 10cm (4in) of compost.
As the plant grows, keep adding compost. The plant will grow through the compost and continue to form potatoes.
When the plant reaches the top of the container, allow it to grow normally. Harvest when the potatoes have reached the desired size (check by feeling through the compost). Water well but take care not to over-water.
A word from Tom, our man in the know...
So 2022 is behind us and we welcome in 2023 and one of the harbingers of the New Year in Monkton Elm is the arrival of lovely new seed potatoes fresh from Bonny Scotland! If you have never grown potatoes before you are missing a treat! Delicious waxy new potatoes , floury and buttery chips ,Dauphinoise , potato skins , creamy mash, jacket potatoes, the list is almost as endless as the potato varieties.
At Monkton Elm we pride ourselves on having a wide range – always well over 40 – of different varieties for you to try. Whether it’s the ever popular Charlotte , the blight resistant Sarpo Mira or the heirloom varieties like Pink Fir Apple there will be a variety to suit every recipe , taste and soil type.
We sell our potatoes loose so that if you want to try just two or three different varieties you can – no buying a prepack with more than you need in it – and cheaper too!
So if you are new to potato growing pop on in and have a look at our range. Get some friendly free advice – we’re always happy to help and remember – not only are you saving yourself a penny or two ( or three!! ) , important in this day and age , but also you will know exactly where your potatoes have come from! There really is a lot more to the humble potato than the usual suspects available from the supermarkets!
For even more growing tips…
Visit www.wcf-phoenix.co.uk for loads of great information on varieties, growing and harvesting Tips.