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A beginner’s guide to planting potatoes

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28 September 2021

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From potato planting basics to optimal soil conditions, we answer common questions to help you on your potato growing journey.

What’s better: seed or spud?

You can start a potato crop using store-bought tubers that have sprouted tentacles in your pantry or kitchen cupboards, but buying certified seed potatoes gives a better guarantee of success. Seed potatoes are available from garden centres and tend to be more uniform in shape and size, as well as being free of viruses and fungal diseases.

Which potato variety to choose?

Early varieties such as ‘Rocket’, ‘Swift’ and ‘Jersey Benne’ take less time than main crop stalwarts. Early varieties have waxy, firm flesh and are best eaten steamed or boiled or in potato salads, whereas main croppers have floury, starchy flesh that fluffs up when roasted, baked or fried as chips.

What are the best soil conditions to grow potatoes?

Potatoes are an excellent first crop if you’re breaking new ground in a sunny vegetable garden, as their deep rooted tubers act like natural rotary hoes to loosen up compact soil. Dig in compost prior to planting.

How deeply should potatoes be planted?

Bury the tubers 10-15cm deep and 30-40cm apart for early varieties, which don’t grow such large leafy tops, or 50-80cm apart for main crop varieties.

Any other tips?

Mound up the soil around the plants to keep their roots cool, and to ensure the developing tubers don’t turn green through exposure to sunlight.

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