Wyevale Garden Centres

Hail to the spud

The trusty old potato dates back thousands of years – and it's no surprise that this kitchen staple is still loved across the world today. It comes in all shapes and sizes and couldn't be easier to grow. (Not to mention its yummy roasting, boiling, mashing and frying power!)

Here's a handy guide that'll help you grow the tastiest spuds time after time.


Do the groundwork

Even though you won't plant your potatoes until spring, you'll need to do a little winter prepping to make sure the ground's good to go when the time comes. (If you're planting in a container, you don't have to worry about this.)

Step 1

Choose your patch - spacious and with lots of light.

Step 2

Dig up and loosen the soil all over.

Step 3

Sprinkle it with a good general fertiliser and let the winter work its magic!

Pick the right potato

It’s important you select the right spuds for you. There are three main types and some take more time and space than others, so here's what you need to know...

Type How to plant When to plant When to Harvest Growing Time Features
First earlies Great in containers or smaller spaces – plant 30cm apart in rows 50cm apart Mid to late March Late may to July 10 to 12 weeks Small and waxy – great boiled as new potatoes
Second earlies Plant 35cm apart in rows 75cm apart Late March to late April June to August 13 to 17 weeks Small and waxy – great hot or cold in salads
Maincrop Plant 35cm apart in rows 75cm apart Late March to late April Late August to October 18 to 22 weeks Larger – great for storing and fluffy roasties

Top Tip: Leave a few weeks between the planting of each potato type to ensure you get a longer harvest.

Get your potatoes prepped

Once you've settled on your spuds, you'll need to get them ready for their adventure underground. We've carefully chosen and packed our seed potatoes which means they're guaranteed to be healthy and virus-free. (You may be tempted to plant the sprouting spuds leftover in your veg rack but they may carry nasty diseases and ruin your whole patch!)

In January and February you'll need to let them sprout (or 'chit' to the potato world).

Step 1

Pop your seed potatoes into an egg box, with the end containing most 'eyes' facing upwards.

Step 2

Find a cool, light and airy spot for them (if they chit in the dark, the sprouts will be long and spindly so they'll break off when planted).

Step 3

Leave your potatoes for 4 to 6 weeks until they've grown short sprouts around 2cm long – then they're ready

Time to grow

Your potatoes need a happy home, whether you're growing them in the ground or in a container. Here are a few key things to do to get the very best from your spuds.

If you're planting in the ground...

  1. Make sure your soil's free of weeds.
  2. Plant the potatoes a few inches deep so they're not exposed to any light.
  3. Build a ridge of dirt around the shoots to protect them from frost – and do the same again once the foliage grows to around 15cm.

If you're planting in a container...

  1. Choose a cool, light place (like a patio or a window ledge) and line your container with broken pots or stones to help water drain.
  2. Fill with 10-15cm of good multipurpose compost, pop your potatoes in with the sprouts up, then cover with another 10cm of compost.
  3. As they break through, cover the sprouts with more compost and do this another two or three times while growing until the container is full.
  4. Keep your spuds watered as they'll struggle if they dry out.