Which Seed Potatoes Should I Choose? What is a First Early?

For anyone who is a little confused by the different seed potato classifications, here’s an explanation to help clear things up along with some ideas to help you choose what to grow.

The main difference between the types, is when they crop:

First Early Seed Potatoes

These are the earliest potatoes to crop, and you can normally expect a harvest in late June or July. Harvest them once the flowers open and remember that they are best enjoyed on the day you dig them up for flavour.

Second Early Seed Potatoes

Next in the cropping calendar are the second earlies, which take a little longer to grow and can be harvested in July. Like first earlies, they should be harvested when the flowers open and are best dug fresh and cooked the same day.

Maincrop Potatoes

These potatoes mature a little later in the season, usually around September time. You’ll know they are ready to harvest when the foliage turns yellow and begins to die back. As a general rule, they are a little thicker skinned and will store better.

What is a ‘Salad’ Potato?

A salad potato is one that has the waxy, firm texture that you’d expect from a potato that you boil for a potato salad, or to serve with a simple dressing¬† or with melted butter. There are ‘earlies’ and ‘maincrop’ salad potatoes that you can choose from.

How do I choose?

It is difficult to choose, especially when there is a wide choice! Here are some pointers for you:

  • If blight is an issue, go for ‘early’ varieties which are harvested sooner. If you would like a maincrop variety for a later crop, Sarpo Mira has good blight resistance, as does Cara. (If you don’t know if blight is common in your area, ask a couple of neighbours. It tends to come in mid/late summer when it is wet but still warm.)
  • For gardeners who battle with slugs, you could try Pentland Javelin or Kestrel
  • If eelworm is a problem, try King Edward or Maris Piper
  • For heavy, clay soils most varieties will be okay, but if it tends to be a problem you could try Kestrel
  • For pots and containers, you can use any variety
  • Salad lovers should choose salad potatoes. Charlotte is hugely popular, as is Nicola.
  • Best for roast potatoes – undoubtedly King Edward, although Maris Piper, Kerr’s Pink and Setanta are very good too
  • Best for chipsKerr’s Pink and Casablanca are good choices
  • Best for jacket potatoes & mashKing Edward, Maris Piper
  • Best for fun factor – Pink Fir Apple produces funny looking tubers. We like Kestrel too with its patchy purples
  • For serious potato fans – try our new Potatoes Through The Season Collection (¬£17.99 for a pack of 10 for each of the 4 different types, so 40 seed potatoes in total.)

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