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Potato Selector Guide

different variety of potatoes
Ensure you've got the right sort of potato for your next meal
Image: Cora Mueller

Not sure about the difference between 'first early' and 'maincrop' potato? You’re not alone. And the sheer variety of potatoes available can make it even harder to choose the right one.

Use our easy checklists below to help determine the ultimate spud for your needs – whether that’s a crispy roast potato for Sunday lunch, a new potato dripping in warm butter, or a large bowl of creamy mash. Simply work through the steps below.

Step 1: Choose a potato cropping type

Step 2: Choose a variety of potato

Step 3: Plant up your potato tubers

Step 4: Harvest and enjoy your potatoes

Step 1: How to choose a potato cropping type

There are 4 main types of potato, and they need to be ordered, ‘chitted’, planted and harvested at different times of the year. Your first decision is what cropping type you want to grow.

First Early Potatoes

  • • Small, new potatoes.
  • • Plant up from the end of February to late May.
  • • Harvest approximately 10 weeks from planting.
  • • Grow in bags, containers or in the ground.
  • • Benefit from 'chitting' prior to planting.

Second Early Potatoes

  • • Small, new potatoes.
  • • Plant up from March to late May.
  • • Harvest approximately 13 weeks from planting.
  • • Grow in bags, containers or in the ground.
  • • Benefit from 'chitting' prior to planting.

Maincrop Potatoes

  • • Larger potatoes, ideal for baking and roasting.
  • • Plant up from March to mid May.
  • • Ready to harvest approximately 20 weeks from planting.
  • • Grow in the ground where there is more room for best results, but can also be grown in bags and containers.
  • • Benefit from 'chitting' prior to planting.

Second Cropping Potatoes

  • • Also known asChristmas' potatoes as they can be eaten in late Autumn, or stored for Christmas dinner!
  • • Must be protected from frosts. Bring them into your greenhouse or shed when the first frosts threaten.
  • • Plant up in easily movable bags or containers in early August.
  • • Ready to harvest approximately 11 weeks from planting.
  • • Do not require 'chitting'.

Step 2: How to choose a potato variety

Now you’ve selected which type of potato you want to grow, it’s time to select a specific variety. Some are better for roasting, while others are best for boiling.

Choose one of the cropping types below to go straight to the full range of potatoes, or, scroll down to the checklists and choose by culinary use:

First Early potato varieties:

Varieties General
Purpose
Chips Wedges Baked Boiled Mashed Steamed Roasted Salad New
Customer Favourites Collection
Arran Pilot
Super Season of Spuds Collection
Epicure
Maris Bard
Pentland Javelin
Red Duke of York
Lady Christl
Rocket
Swift
Orla
Beginners Collection
Allotment Favourites
Collection

Second Early varieties:

Varieties General
Purpose
Chips Wedges Baked Boiled Mashed Steamed Roasted Salad New
Ratte
Jazzy
British Queen
Athlete
Charlotte
Maris Peer
Anya
Vivaldi
Kestrel
Elfe
Customer Favourites Collection
Nicola
Beginners Collection
Allotment Favourites Collection

Maincrop varieties:

Varieties General
Purpose
Chips Wedges Baked Boiled Mashed Steamed Roasted Salad New
Vizelle
Carolus
Belle de Fontenay
Mozart
Vales Sovereign
Cara
Rooster
Desiree
Golden Wonder
Late Blight Resistant Collection
Customer Favourites Collection
King Edward
Maris Piper
Mayan Gold
Picasso
Pink Fir Apple
Salad Blue
Sarpo Mira
Setanta
Valor
Beginners Collection
Allotment Favourites Collection

Step 3: How to plant up your potato tubers

The next step is to decide whether you’re going to plant your potato tubers in bags or in the ground. If you have plenty of space in your garden for a vegetable plot, or you’re lucky enough to tend an allotment – it’s very straightforward to plant and grow your potatoes in the ground.

On the other hand, limited space shouldn’t prevent you from harvesting plenty of delicious homegrown potatoes. It’s quick, easy and efficient to grow potatoes in purpose made grow bags on your patio, balcony or an unused corner of your courtyard. Read our article on how to grow potatoes in bags to see just how easy it is.

Step 4: How to harvest and enjoy your potatoes

Nothing is more satisfying than the fresh flavour of newly dug potatoes lifted straight from your own garden. After weeks of caring for your plants you’ll certainly enjoy your very own homegrown potato crop. Not only have you reduced the number of food miles required to deliver them to your plate, you also know exactly what has gone into growing them.



Written by: Sue Sanderson

Sue SandersonPlants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman's nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online.