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When to Plant Seed Potatoes

Posted Feb 09 2010 3:43am

When to plant seed potatoes depends on many factors:

  • variety of potato
  • location of potato plot
  • weather
  • condition of soil
  • protection available

seed-potato-in-planting-hol

Potato varieties can be divided into three main types & each type has a different growing season:

  • New Potatoesor earliesplanted from January* to March and are ready for digging from May-July
  • Second earlies – planted between February* and May and harvested from July to October
  • Maincrop- planted in April and harvesting is in September and October

*WARNING – in the UK most potato planting is usually delayed until Marchin sheltered and southern areasor April in colder partsunless protection is available.


If potatoes are planted too early there is a danger that:

  • the seed will rot in the ground if it is wet & cold
  • the shoots will be frosted off when the newtender shoots emerge before the last frost.

potato-shoot-emerges

Location of potato plot is important:

  • Plots in the south of the UK can usually plant a few weeks earlier than those in the north
  • Sheltered plots can be planted earlier
  • Plots in frost pockets need extra care

potato-shoots

The weather for the current year determines when the potatoes can be planted. Temperaturerain & snow effect planting date.   Some seasons are later than othersas is 2010!

cover soil

The condition of the soil must be right. There is no point putting potatoes into wetcold soil. They will not start to grow & will probably rot off. But the ground can be covered with plastic to keep the rain offso that the soil is kept dry before planting the potato seed. The plastic will also warm the soil a few degrees.

potato-row-polytunnel

When protection is availablepotatoes can be planted earlier. Types of protection put over seed once planted:

  • black plastic
  • cloche
  • polytunnel
  • straw

When to plant potatoes in containers

  • Late January in an unheated greenhousecover with fleece in frosty weather
  • Outside in late February in mild southern areasor April in colder parts. Protect from frosts when forecast.

Click this link to buy some potato seed.

When considering the best time to plant potatoes there are many points to consider.

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