Beginners Guide To Growing Potatoes

If you're new to growing your own crops then potatoes are a great vegetable to start with. It's easy to produce a crop of potatoes you'll be proud of as it's difficult to go wrong when growing your own potatoes! Here are the key facts and tips you need to know to get started.

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Types of potatoes

There are 3 main types of potato:

  1. First early
  2. Second early
  3. Maincrop

These easiest way to understand the different types of potatoes is to think about when they'll be ready to harvest. For example, both first early and second early varieties are generally used to produce ‘new’ Potatoes with first early being ready to harvest around 9-12 weeks after planting. Second early varieties mature a little later than first early and will be ready to harvest from 13 weeks after planting. Maincrop potatoes are varieties that are lifted later. They can stay in the ground longer and are traditionally used for mashing, chipping and baking. They'll be ready 15-20 weeks after planting. 

Growing different varieties allows cropping over a long period and for plenty of variety in your kitchen - with lots of different spuds to turn into tasty salads, chips, roasties and more.

How to grow your own potatoes:

Potatoes can be grown in a vegetable plot or in a variety of planters - opt for what suits you and your garden best. We stock the following products for easy, fun potato growing:

  • Scott’s Potato Gro-Sac – your potatoes can be planted direct into these as a potato growbag, or the compost within can be used to plant potatoes in your choice of container.
  • Haxnick’s Potato Growing Bags are a simple solution. Use 3 or 4 seed potatoes per bag.
  • Other alternatives are Stewarts Smithy Tubs (tip: drill holes in these) or wooden barrels.

Simple Steps To Successful Potato Growing:

  1. First ‘Chit’ potatoes in a cool (frost-free) bright place. ‘Chitting’ is when you allow seed potatoes to sprout in a seed tray or box.
  2. Once chitted with firm shoots (approx. end of March/April depending on your location), plant them in vegetable plot or growing bag. When doing so bury them to about 10cm below surface, with shoots facing upwards. Potatoes must be kept frost-free - once shoots break the surface, they can quickly be frosted if not protected.
  3. Add Potato Fertiliser when planting, and later when your plants are in strong growth.
  4. Water well whilst plants are actively growing.
  5. ‘Earth up’ by adding additional soil or compost around the base of the growing plant to ensure no potatoes are exposed (potatoes exposed to light go green, and are not edible).
  6. Remove any flower buds from potato plants.
  7. Once the foliage above starts to die back it’s time to harvest and enjoy!

For more information on growing your own potatoes watch our how-to video and get to know the best varieties of potato to grow for baking, chips, mash, roasts and more with our get to know your potatoes infographic.