Top Tips For Growing Potatoes

What Sort To Choose

EARLIES are planted closer together so are better in a small place and are less likely to suffer from blight because you lift them earlier in the year.

1st EARLIES don’t store well but give you great “new potatoes” fresh from the garden. They take 10 – 13 weeks from planting to harvest and should be ready to lift in June/July.

2nd EARLIES can often be stored for a short time. They take 16 – 17 weeks from planting to harvest and can be lifted July/August.

MAINCROP potatoes are the ones to grow if you want a large harvest to store over winter and have plenty of space to grow them. They take 18 – 20 weeks to reach maturity and can be lifted in August to eat straight away or left until September or October before harvesting for storage.

How To Start

Pre-sprouted (chitted) potatoes give a bigger crop, especially EARLIES.

Set out your seed potatoes with the ‘eye’ end uppermost in egg boxes (or similar) in a cool, light, frost-free place, until little shoots form.

If you live in Calderdale, you should do this in early February

How To Plant

When the soil starts to warm up you can plant your 1st EARLIES with 2nd EARLIES in mid April. MAINCROP potatoes to be planted in mid to late April.


Dig a trench 5 inches (12cm) deep in a sunny spot which was preferably dug and manured the previous Autumn and which hasn’t recently grown potatoes to help to reduce disease.


Sprinkle in a little fertiliser – growmore or fish, blood & bone are ideal.


Set the potatoes in the trench with the shoots upwards. 1st EARLY varieties should be 12 inches (30cm) apart with 16 – 20 inches (40 – 50cm) between rows. 2nd EARLIES and MAINCROP potatoes need to be 15 inches (37cm) apart with up to 30 inches (75cm) between each row. Cover with soil.

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