Seed Potatoes

The much loved spud is, botanically speaking, an underground storage organ called a tuber. It is native of S. America and was introduced into Europe in 1570 by the Spanish. Today, in Britain alone over 15,000 tons of potatoes are eaten EVERY DAY!

Seed potatoes are just carefully selected and grown potatoes for planting out to produce this years crop.

They should be the size of a hens egg. Larger tubers can still be used however, but should not be cut in half. Cutting can greatly increase the chances of pest and/or disease attack.

Do not plant diseased, soft or damaged seed potatoes.

All our seed potatoes are CERTIFIED, - this means they are only produced from plants that have been certified as virus free.

Greening is the term used to describe the effect of light on the skin of potatoes. Chlorophyll is produced, which makes the skin turn green. Thin green skin is poisonous and should not be eaten. Avoid greening by keeping potatoes in store in the dark or covered with a coating of earth.

What type to grow

Seed potatoes are described as First Early, Second Early or Main Crop - the difference being just the time taken to reach maturity, ready for lifting. Have a look at our Potato Variety page for more information.

In a large plot, we would suggest you grow 'Earlier' to provide 'new' potatoes in Summer and 'Maincrop' varieties to provide tubers for storage over Winter.

If space is limited, then just grow the 'Earlier'. The yield will be lower, but less space will be used, many of the pest and disease problems will be avoided and you will have a wonderful crop of new potatoes when the shop prices can be very high.

Our seed potatoes are sold in 3kg (6.6 lb) sacks. This is enough for approximately 3, 10' rows.

From 3kg of seed potatoes, you should expect to yield over 24 lbs of Earlies and over 64 lbs of Maincrop.

Before planting your seed potatoes in the garden; it is best to induce them into developing small shoots, eyes. This is called chitting.

Remove the potatoes from the bag and set out on a tray of dry peat or similar. Give maximum exposure to light, so that eyes develop and short sprouts grow. Protect from frost.

Every potato has a 'rose-end' where the majority of eyes can be found. Place them in the tray rose-end uppermost.

Soil Preparation

Potatoes can be grown in practically every soil type. Always rotate your vegetable crops. It is best not to grow your potatoes in the same place more than once in every three seasons.

Choose a sunny site, if possible, and avoid frost pockets.

Dig the soil in the Autumn, add compost or manure to improve soil structure and growing conditions. Cultivate soil to a good depth, say about 12".

Planting times

First Earlies - Plant in March. You should be able to harvest about 13 weeks later in June/July.

Second Earlies - Plant early/mid April and again harvest 13 weeks later in July/August.

Maincrop - Plant mid/late April - some can be harvested 16-17 weeks later in August for immediate use. The rest can be harvested after about 22 weeks in September/October for Winter storage.

Planting

Prepare your seed bed by lightly digging or forking over the
area and applying a granular fertilizer (e.g. Growmore)

The seed potatoes can then be placed in the bottom of the dibble hole or ridge drill.

Our seed potatoes are sold in 3kg (6.6 lb) sacks. This is enough for approximately 3, 10' rows.