How To Grow Potatoes – Which?

Potatoes are such a versatile vegetable, from fresh potatoes with a unique taste to the main crops that can be stored all winter and used in a variety of dishes, from puree to French fries.

Growing potatoes: month after month

Best varieties of potatoes

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How we try potatoes

We breed many species side by side and samples of each species are cooked and evaluated to taste. They are then tasted individually by a team of trained critics who describe the appearance, smell, taste and texture of each type of potato and give an overall rating.

Potato varieties

Although each potato will grow and produce a crop that will germinate even from the back of the cage, it is best to buy “seed potatoes” from a garden center or mail order. When Which? Garðablað In comparison with the cultivation of potato seeds and those from the supermarket, we found that it is not worth cultivating potatoes in a supermarket. They grow poorly, there is less variety to choose from, the variety you want may not be available at the right time, you get lower yields and quality, disease problems can arise and it is not cheaper.

Potato seeds are usually sold by weight. A bag of 1 kg makes at least 10 tubers – good for a plot garden but too much for a small garden. Look for garden centers that sell small quantities or loose tubers.

Varieties are usually divided into categories according to how fast they produce food potatoes:

First, early potatoes are the quickest to harvest and are usually buried and eaten fresh before the skin hardens. These are known as “new potatoes” in late June and July.

Another early potato are the next ones, from July to August, and contain waxy “salad potatoes”. If necessary, dig them out in the summer.

The main crop of potatoes are usually left in the ground until the tips die and the skin tubers harden in late summer / early autumn. Dig them up at once and save them for winter use. The first main products are no longer stored long after Christmas. So use these first. The late main crop brings you into the spring.

When to plant


Once you have the seed potatoes, unpack them and place in a container in a cool, light place. This is known as “chitting”. When you do this, the seed potatoes will be plump, green sprouts and ready to grow when you plant them. Tubers stored in the dark produce long white sprouts that are easily damaged.

Grown in the ground

Each year, grow potatoes on a different plot for three or four years. This “harvest” helps prevent pests or diseases from developing. Potatoes are greedy plants (that is, they absorb a lot of nutrients) and their cultivation involves soil disturbance – it makes sense to spread them over the vegetable garden.

Grow potatoes early in rows at 40 cm intervals and the main crop in rows 60 to 75 cm apart. This makes it easier to dig the crop and means you can ground the base of the plants at once.

Plant early varieties in mild areas in late March or in cold regions in early April and then other early risers and main crops in April. Insert tubers at 40 cm intervals.

Potatoes enjoy a decent amount of well-rotted manure or compost. Work this in a ditch or spread it over the soil surface.

Dig a ditch that is approximately 10 inches deep and 12 inches wide. This is especially worthwhile on light soils where you can absorb organic matter at the same time.

You do not need to plant potatoes in a ditch, you need to plant them at least 6 inches deep. Remember that new tubers form on the stems above the seed bulb. Use a trowel or old-fashioned potato plant.

Grown in pots or bags of potatoes

You can grow potatoes in pots, potato specialties or even in an old trash can, provided there are drainage holes. Fill the container with one

with what Controlled release fertilizer until he is about a quarter full. Dig a mashed potato seed near the ground.

As the potato sprouts grow, continue to add compost until the container is full. Keep the compost moist but not too wet. If you do not water enough, your crop will be poor.

To check if the potatoes are ready for harvest, stretch into the compost and feel around you. The potatoes are ready when they are the size of an egg.

How to grow large potatoes for baking

Large, even potatoes are perfect for mashed potatoes. When Which? Garðablað When we tried to find the best way to grow these types of potatoes, we found that the secret was to feed a common fertilizer such as Growmore – “potato feed” was less effective. Watering your plants is also important, especially in dry weather.

Take care of your plants

Protect from frost

Potato leaves and stems are very sensitive to frost. If frost is forecast (and ground frost may occur if the night forecast is below 5 ° C), cover the plants with a double layer of garden chips, clippings, straw or bags.


As soon as the shoots appear, cover them with soil (“mold”). This will increase the number of tubers, prevent them from turning green and protect them from frost. Cover them with more soil until there is a ridge around the plants. You can also use compost.

to water

Watering is necessary when flowers are visible, but only when conditions are dry. Water about twice a week and give a decent amount. Stop watering if the leaves turn yellower than 10% as the plants mature.

How and when to harvest

The first types are ready when the carpenter is just starting to turn yellow. Sometimes, but not always, tubers are ready when the plants bloom. When in doubt, look for egg-shaped tubers under the plants.

Before the main harvest, wait until one third of the leaves turn yellow and then raise the crop on a dry day. Slide the fork in from one side and under the center of the plants along the row. Give yourself time to remove the tubers, no matter how small, or they will grow next year and disrupt this year’s crop.

to save

Early varieties should be eaten immediately, but the main crop can be saved for later use. Put them in a dark place to dry completely before putting them away. Remove the area that is rotting (especially if the fire rots in the impact), is damaged or has snail or pinworm holes. These do not hold up well, so eat them first after cutting off damaged areas. Store good tubers in burlap or paper bags (sometimes given by fish and chipboard). Advise them every few weeks to look for tubers and remove tubers that are starting to rot.

Common growth problems


Check regularly for leaves and stems for black spots, especially after wet weather. This is probably the case RednessCut off leaves to prevent fungal spores from reaching tubers. Leave the tubers in front of the crop in the ground for at least two weeks. It is usually a problem with the main crop of potatoes, but it can also infect previous potatoes.

Read more about the eruption.

Frost damage

Frozen leaves suddenly get brown, dead spots. This is most common at the beginning of the year when frost is more likely. Your plants need to recover. To prevent this from happening, cover the leaves with soil or compost (clay products) or put on garden chips on cold nights.


Snails can be tubers underground, especially with potatoes in late summer / early fall. If you suspect this could be a problem, do not wait to dig up the tubers. The best solution is to treat the area with biological control such as Nemaslug as it covers underground snails.

Read more about snails.


Ringworm can also burrow into tubers and cause damage similar to snails. Look for shiny brown larvae. This is common on new properties that were previously under grass. The problem should go away in a few years.

Read more about pinworms.


Blackheads include leaves that are small, yellowish and may be deformed. The base of the stem clearly shows blackening and then dies off. The vascular coefficients are black so that black “dots” are visible above them when the stem is cut. “Mother tubers” rot completely and if it strikes early, the plant can be killed and will not harvest. Wet floors often exacerbate the problem.

Read more about Blackleg.


Dry soils and dry summers encourage itching. It produces corks, irregularly wide and flat strokes, often in groups. This is often pitted and covered with crust. Stems are also attacked but not conspicuously.

Read more about crust.

Powder scab

In wet weather and in heavy soils, wipes are often rarer than ordinary scabs. It causes increased irregular crusts that release trace powder. This powder is brown and the vegetation can live in the soil for up to 10 years. Before the crusts explode, there may be discolored skin around them. In many cases, cancer develops which deforms tubers with large growths.

Read more about powder scab.

Black scab

Black scab is a fungal disease that damages early potato sprouts in cold, moist soil. Look for black spots that can be scraped off the tubers. Look for brown stem cells at the beginning of the season. These infected areas can run right around the stem. The leaves are rolled and withered. Sometimes a white, powdery collar is also seen around the stem near the ground. In severe cases, if the young sprouts are planted in cold soil, they will die and the crop will not survive.

Read more about black crust.

Potato growing jobs for January and February

Work growing potatoes all year round