Grow Early New Potatoes


Quick Tips on Growing Early Potatoes

    • Aim for crops of new potatoes to lift  in May-July from ‘first early’ varieties Rocket, Arran Pilot, Duke of York, Pentland Javelin, Rocket, Winston and/or Lady Christl. they will be ready in 10-12 weeks.
    • Buy small tubers (size isn’t so important) of seed potato from your garden centre or mail order
    • Encourage sprouting,  ‘chitting’, by placing the potatoes in a cool light place with the bud eyes facing upwards. For a small number you can stand them in old egg boxes. You are aiming to get short, strong shoots at the rose end. If there are too many shoots I rub off some of the surplus to channel energy.
    • A bit of warmth or at least a sheltered spot will bring them on. Avoid frost and cold as they grow.

  • Plant out 3 inches deep in mid February- March into organically rich, fertilised soil about a foot apart.
  • You may wish to try growing in a pot or special potato sack or barrel where you can add soil as the plant grows to save earthing up.
  • Choose varieties that have a subtle flavour and a good waxy texture such as ‘Accent’
  • For a floury potato try ‘Red Duke of York’ or old varieties Pentland Javelin, Maris Bard or Arran Pilot
  • Water little and often adding high potash feed.
  • Cut off foliage and leave in the soil for a couple of weeks if you want skins to set
  • Eat new potatoes as soon as they are picked and take care they do not go into the water.


Main crop spuds take 14 weeks or so to mature. Some varieties flower and that indicates they are ready to harvest.
Second earlies give you a chance to spread the cropping period. I do not bother preferring a range of varieties that achieves the same end.
I like the salad varieties Ratte, Pink Fir Apple and Charlotte.

Potato Planter

5 Responses to Grow Early New Potatoes

  1. Mike June 26, 2009 at 16.03 #

    How can you tell when early potatoes are ready for lifting?

  2. Jon July 28, 2009 at 16.03 #

    Thanks for this information. I have a friend who’s interesting in growing potatoes and this should help her out nicely. Much appreciated :). I have a question for you and your readers: Ever wonder if you could be eating healthier and don’t have time to shop for and prepare healthy meals? There’s a program called Chefs Diet and they are giving away a free month of nutritionally balanced meals whose ingredients are at the peak of freshness, plus a consultation with the premier doctor of nutrition at Chefs Diet. Check it out at!


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