How to grow seed potatoes in your kitchen garden

Here at Lazy Flora potatoes are one of our favourite vegetables to grow in the kitchen garden, not least because they are really easy and undemanding to grow. Potatoes suit smaller spaces and many varieties are perfect for growing in pots and containers so you can grow them even on the smallest balcony or terrace.

They are adaptable to soil conditions and seasons which makes them a fuss-free veg to grow. All they really need is lots of water and they'll grow happily and reward you with lots of tasty potatoes. 

This year we've worked with an experienced UK supplier that grows high quality potatoes in Scotland on Safe Haven certified farms to bring you the very best seed potatoes. The Safe Haven scheme protects our GB seed potato industry from non-indigenous, notifiable diseases. 

Get your seed potatoes now 

Choosing potato varieties

Seed potatoes are divided into different categories based on when they should be planted and when you can expect to harvest your potatoes. 

First Earlies are, as the name suggest, the earliest potatoes. They are planted between February and April and harvested between May and July. They are often called new potatoes as they are ready to harvest before other varieties, around 9-14 weeks after planting. They produce lots of tasty, small potatoes. Duke of York, Pentland Javelin, Rocket and Swift are some of our favourite First Earlies. 

Second Earlies are planted between March and April and harvested between July and August. They take longer to grow than First Earlies and are ready to harvest around 14-17 weeks after planting. Their yields are higher, and the potatoes are bigger than First Earlies. Second Earlies are deal for boiling and salads, they are also good general-purpose potatoes. Nadine and Maris Peer are great Second Early potatoes to grow.

Maincrops are planted between March and May and harvested between August and September. They require the longest growing period and are generally ready to harvest 17-20 weeks after planting. They can produce high yields of large potatoes and can be stored through the winter so you have tasty homegrown potatoes for months to come! We have chosen the garden favourite Maris Piper, lovely red skinned Desiree and a wonderful Organic variety Setanta for our Maincrop potatoes this year.

Salad potatoes are planted between March and May and harvested between June and September. Salad varieties tend to be long, oval varieties with a "waxy” texture, which remains together on boiling, and makes the potatoes an ideal addition to salads. Their taste is generally described as fine to gourmet. They can be First Early, Second Early or Maincrops. We love the all-around favourite Charlotte and the wonderful Pink Fir Apple varieties.

how to grow seed potatoes

How to grow perfect potatoes

Before planting your potatoes, it's best to 'chit' them. To do this, place them somewhere cool but light until they grow little green sprouts. A shallow tray or an old egg box is a perfect container to use for this! Once each seed potato has 2-3 sprouts, it's time to plant them out. (If any have more than 3 sprouts use your finger to rub them off.)

When planting out your potatoes, it's best to use loose garden soil or compost with plenty of organic matter added to it (such as farm yard manure). Never grow potatoes in the same spot for more than 2-3 years. Whether you are growing your potatoes in the ground, in raised beds or containers, ensure your potatoes will be in full sun and receiving several hours of sunlight daily.

Dig straight rows into the soil, around 4 inches deep, and place the potatoes into these trenches with their sprouts facing upwards. Leave approx. 25-30cm between each potato. Once finished cover over with compost. If you are growing your potatoes in pots, fill the containers around 1/3 full, place potatoes on top and then cover with another 4-6 inches of compost. Once you see shoots appearing through the soil surface, cover the shoots with another 4-6 inches of compost and continue this pattern until you reach the top of your container.

Potatoes like plenty of water, so remember to keep the soil moist, especially later in the season when their lush canopy of leaves will prevent rain water from reaching the soil. 

As a rule of thumb use 1 tuber for a 10 inch (25cm) wide container, 3 tubers in an 18 inch (40cm) container or 5 tubers for a dustbin sized container.

Depending on the potatoes you've chosen to grow, they'll be ready to harvest anywhere from 9 to 20 weeks after planting. When they are ready, lift the plants and remove the tubers, leave them to dry for a few hours before storing them in a dry, well ventilated place. 

Then all you'll have left to do is decide how you're going to use your lovely homegrown potatoes! From jacket potatoes, roasties, mashed, boiled, chips or in a salad, the ways to enjoy your harvest really are countless.

homegrown potatoes

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