Potatoes really are a staple food in many households and are such a delight to grow. The yields on potatoes is actually pretty high. Our favourite way of growing potatoes is in potato bags such as these on Amazon. We only recommend planting three seed potatoes in these bags, of which you can expect a crop of around 21 potatoes delicious potatoes. 

Now before you go rushing to the shops to get your seed potatoes, we thought we’d give you a little information on the different types of potato to help you choose which ones you want to grow. 

Lovely New Potatoes
Lovely New Potatoes

Essentially, there are three types of potato that you can grow and they are named based on the you plant and harvest them. These are; first earlies, second earlies and main crop. 

First early potatoes are the earliest crop to harvest (around 10 to 12 weeks) these are often known as new potatoes. Second early potatoes are not far behind taking around 14 weeks to harvest from the point that they are planted. And finally, you have the maincrop which will take anything from 17 to 22 weeks. Your maincrop potatoes are the ones that you are familiar with at home, such a Maris Piper and King Edward – these are highly versatile potatoes and can be stored for a few months into the winter. Here are your three main types:

First Early Potatoes

New Potatoes

First early potatoes are great to have in the garden. You should be able to harvest these at around the same time that you are able to light your first BBQ. And what better than to have some super fresh potatoes available for a side salad. It’s also a great opportunity for the children to get involved and with the crop only taking around 10 to 12 weeks, it shows them just how quickly, the hard work that they put in, has grown some food for the family.

There are a large variety of first earlies available – to name a few:

  • Potato ‘Arran Pilot‘ – A great potato to grow if you are looking for some new potatoes to put into a salad. Suitable for both in the ground and in a pot and will be great in a small patio garden if you get full sun.
  • Potato ‘Lady Christl‘ – A good disease resistant potato that is well suited to growing in containers and bags. This potato is also good as a second early if you want to get larger tubers from it. Great as new potatoes and remains firm from cooking.
  • Potato ‘Rocket‘ – This is a heavy cropping first early potato and will quickly produce baby new potatoes. Best suited to growing in containers and bags.

Seed potatoes available from: Thompson & Morgan

Second Early Potatoes

Second early potatoes can be planted up from March through to late May. These potatoes will also produce some lovely new potatoes in around 13 – 14 weeks from planting. Ideally, these will benefit from chitting before planting to give them a head start. Again, these potatoes are an ideal one to have during the BBQ season as they will be delicious in a potato salad served with butter and some garden grown mint.

Here are some great varieties that you can plant in your garden:

  • Potato ‘Charlotte‘ – These are one of the most popular second early potatoes that are grown. They are award winning and can be grown either in containers or in the ground (as it will be warmer at this time of the year). Can be eaten hot or cold.
  • Potato ‘Jazzy‘ – This is also an extremely popular potato that has an extremely high yield. If you are a family of potato eaters, this one is extremely rewarding to grow as you just get so much out of them. It is also a highly versatile potato that can be used for salads, boiling and roasting.
  • Potato ‘Maris Peer‘ – If you are looking for something different, this is a very flavoursome potato that has scented purple flowers. It is a gardeners favourite and is extremely easy to grow.

Seed potatoes available from: Thompson & Morgan

Main Crop Potatoes

These potatoes are your most staple of varieties and take approximately 20 weeks to harvest. They are good all round potatoes and can be used for baking and roasting. Similar to the second earlies, these potatoes benefit from chitting and are best planted from March to mid May. Main crop potatoes are best grown in the ground but can also be planted in containers if you are short on space. Main crop potatoes are also great for storing, which makes them ideal for roast dinners come the end of the summer. Nothing beats home grown potatoes in a yummy Sunday roast!

Here are some great varieties that you can plant in your garden:

  • Potato ‘Maris Piper‘ – These have got to be my all time favourite potato as they are just so good and versatile in the kitchen. These potatoes also have a purple flower.
  • Potato ‘King Edward‘ –  Everyone must have heard of the King Edward Potato! This is the classic Christmas potato that so many of us enjoy in our roast dinners. It is very easy to grow and will give you plenty of potatoes for storage.
  • Potato ‘Sarpo Mira‘ – This is a wonderful potato and is an allrounder in the kitchen and is great for storing. It is also fairly high yielding so if your family consume a lot of potatoes, this is certainly a main crop that I would consider.

Seed potatoes available from: Thompson & Morgan 


Other questions that you might have

What else should I get in preparation for growing potatoes?

If you are growing potatoes for the first time, I would recommend planting them in potato bags. We use these ones on Amazon and I really cannot fault them! For one, they are really good value and they are just the right size with an access flap on the front so that you can easily access the potatoes when it is time to harvest.

In terms of compost, a multipurpose compost from the local garden centre will do just fine. If you are going to be growing two bags of potatoes, I would recommend getting 3 bags of compost as you will need to layer up when the potatoes actually start growing.

Where do I get my seed potatoes from?

From the early part of the year, most garden centres will sell seed potatoes. Some offer a pick your own service where you fill up a bag and others offer them in bags, normally of around 1.5kg. For someone starting out, this is going to be plenty. Although, we get them from Thompson & Morgan as the quality is superb.

Do home grown potatoes really taste any different from the supermarket bought potatoes?

This is a common question that people ask and the answer is most definitely YES! And even if you are not an avid gardener, potatoes are really easy to grow! If you are just starting off, I’d definitely recommend planting them into containers to start with as digging over the ground might be a little overwhelming if you don’t have the garden prepared already.

What Next?

Time to read up on Chitting Potatoes