Q&As/Potatoes/When to Plant Potatoes

Question

When is the right time to plant potatoes? We are afraid that frosts will kill the tops. 

Answer

Cold air and soil temperatures are not good for growing potatoes. The ideal time would be from around October onwards once the soil temperatures have started increasing and there is less risk of late frosts.  

Potatoes come in a wide selection of varieties, each varying in size, shape, flavour and timing when they crop. Varieties typically fall into two groups depending on when you are planting: Early Varieties and Main Crops. Early cropping varieties should be planted in early spring, while a main crop potato is best planted in late spring or early summer.  

To grow potato crops, purchase seed potatoes of the particular variety you want to grow. You can purchase them from garden centres or you can grow them yourself. Once you have your seed potatoes put them somewhere dark for a period 1-2 weeks, during which they should begin to sprout. Potatoes grow best in a sunny site with rich, fertile, free draining soil so prepare your soil well before planting. Add plenty of Daltons Compost and work it in well with existing soil. Root vegetables need room to grow so as a guide, plant your seed potatoes 5cm deep and 25-30cm apart with approximately 70cm between rows. If you are short on space, many people have great success growing potatoes in containers. Potato crops typically mature in approximately 3-4 months after planting depending on the variety and the weather of that particular season. Harvest once the flowering has finished and the green tops of the potatoes begin to turn yellow. Don’t be tempted to pull them out early!  

Top tip: Feed your potato crops with side dressings of Daltons Potato Fert 2-3 times during their growing period but don’t over fertilise as it will lead to green leafy tops and fewer potatoes in the ground.

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