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How to Sow and Grow Maincrop Potatoes

How to Sow and Grow Maincrop Potatoes

Baked, boiled, chipped, or roasted, potatoes are always a winner. And there’s nothing quite like your own potatoes, dug up from the ground like buried treasure. Growing your own potatoes means you can choose from a wide range of different potato types, flavours, and even colours. If you’ve never grown potatoes before, now’s the perfect time to start.

What Are Maincrop Potatoes?

Maincrop potato tubers are sown in mid to late April. They produce bigger potatoes than the first and second early varieties and take longer to mature. They are best planted in the ground rather than in containers or bags to give the tubers space to grow. Maincrop potatoes generally store well for several months in the right conditions.

6 Good Maincrop Potatoes to Plant

There’s a huge range of maincrop potatoes to choose from, so we’ve picked out six of our favourites to get you started.

  • Norland – Red-skinned, waxy potatoes great for boiling or baking.

  • Pontiac – Red skinned, with sweet white flesh.  Makes a great new potato

  • Yukon Gold - Yellow skinned and fleshed, ready in 100 days.  Best for mashing

  • Fingerling – Beautiful roasted potatoes, with a soft buttery flavour.

  • Russian Blue – A late season potato with dark purple skin and blue flesh.  Beautiful for baking, hash browns ad frying

  • Banana – Late maturing with yellow skin and flesh. Amazing in potato salad!

How to Plant Maincrop Potatoes

It’s a good idea to ‘chit’ maincrop potatoes before planting. This means leaving the potatoes somewhere warm and bright indoors for a few weeks to sprout shoots before planting. 

Potatoes need a sunny site and well-drained, fertile soil. Dig in lots of compost or well-rotted farmyard manure several weeks before planting. (Ideally, potato beds should be prepared in autumn, ready for planting in spring.)

Plant the potato tubers 12cm (5in) deep, spaced 40cm (16in) apart, in rows spaced 75cm (30in) apart. If you are planting lots of potatoes, it’s easiest to dig a narrow trench rather than individual holes and place them in the trench.

Once the potato seedlings have grown about 25cm (10in) tall, earth them up by mounding up soil around them to cover the stems, leaving the top 10cm (4in) of the plant uncovered. Repeat this process as the plants grow until the mounds are between 20-30cm high. This stops light from reaching the tubers and turning them green and poisonous.  

Water your potatoes regularly in dry weather.

Harvesting Maincrop Potatoes

Maincrop potatoes should be ready to harvest from late August to October. When the leaves turn yellow, cut them down and remove them. Leave the potatoes in the ground for 10 days before harvesting.

Whatever you’re growing this year, you’ll find everything you need in our centre. Visit us to see our great ranges of seed potatoes and much more.