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Seed Potatoes

The name may be deceptive, but seed potatoes aren't actually seeds. Seed potatoes are tubers that you can plant to grow new potatoes. Plant seed potato tubers in full sun, in early spring. Different from other veg species, potatoes actually tolerate a little frost. Fernhill offers many different seed potatoes to choose from, like Duke of York, Kestrel, Golden Wonder, Setanta and Home Guard. Discover our selection's main purpose. Some seed potatoes are best for salads, others for boiling. 

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When to plant seed potatoes? 

There are three variations of potato seeds. Make sure you plant the potato seeds at the right time. 

  • First earlies – around late March.

  • Second earlies  early to mid-April.

  • Maincrops – mid- to late April.

Where to plant seed potatoes? 

It is best to plant seed potatoes after the chance of hard frost has passed, but while you are still experiencing light frosts.

  • The soil must be at least 10 degrees Celsius.
  • Make sure the soil is not too wet. Like other seeds, potato seeds will rot if planted in ground that is too wet.
  • Choose a sunny spot in the garden. Seed potatoes fancy a place that receives at least 6 hours of full sun per day. 

How to plant seed potatoes?

When planting seed potatoes, it is important to choose a location that has well-draining soil and receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. They should also be planted at a depth of about 7-10cm (3-4") inches and spaced about 30-40cm (12-15") inches apart. It's recommended to plant them in mounds or raised beds, as it helps to prevent rot and promotes good drainage.

Before planting, seed potatoes should be "chitted", or allowed to sprout by placing them in a cool, light place for a few weeks. This process helps to ensure strong and healthy growth when the potatoes are planted.

Dig a trench to a depth of about 10 cm (4") and place the seed potatoes into the soil with the rose end pointing up. Fill the trench with soil to cover the potatoes and, if required, scatter potato fertiliser along the top of the trench.

  • Plant the seed potatoes around 30-45cm (12-18") apart. 
  • The distance between rows should be 60-75 cm (24-30"). 

How to care for seed potatoes

Once planted, seed potatoes should be watered regularly and fertilized with a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth. They should also be protected from frost and heavy rain, as both can damage the potatoes. After the plants have grown to about 15-20cm (6-8") tall, they should be "hilled up" by mounding the soil around the base of the plant. This helps to keep the developing tubers (potatoes) covered and protected.

When to harvest seed potatoes?

Most potato seeds can be harvested approximately after 10-20 weeks from planting, depending on the variety. First early potatoes are full-grown after 10 weeks, whilst maincrop potatoes are finished after 20 weeks. 

  • First early potatoes should be ready to lift in June and July.

  • Second earlies in July and August.

  • Maincrops from late August through to October.

When the leaves of the potato plants begin to yellow and die back, it is an indication that the tubers are ready to be harvested. Carefully digging around the base of the plant, being careful not to damage the tubers, and gently lifting them out of the soil.

How to store seed potatoes?

It's important to note that potatoes should not be stored in the same place as onions or other vegetables that emit ethylene gas, as it can cause potatoes to sprout and rot. Also, it's important to cure them before storage by leaving them in a warm, well-ventilated area for a week or two. This process helps to harden the skin and prevent decay.