How to Choose the Best Potatoes to Grow in Your Garden


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How to Choose the Best Potatoes to Grow in Your Garden

Potatoes are one vegetable we simply couldn’t be without. But what type and variety of potato is best?

Culinary Uses

  • Potatoes that are high in starch are great for baking, mashing or cutting into French fries or wedges.
  • Waxy potatoes contain less starch and hold together when cooked. They’re ideal for cooking in soups and stews, or use them in salads.
  • Look closely at the catalog descriptions for different varieties and select one that’s recommended for how you want to cook it.

Time to Harvest

Early varieties are subdivided into first earlies that are ready as soon as the start of summer, and second earlies which follow on a couple of weeks later. Maincrop potatoes are ready to dig up and enjoy anytime from mid to late summer onwards.

Making Space for Potatoes

Some potatoes need more space than others to grow. Early potatoes can be planted in rows just one foot apart, while maincrop potatoes need at least one and a half feet between rows.

Our Garden Planner is a useful tool for choosing varieties suitable for your location and working out how many plants you can fit into the space you have for optimal harvest. You can drag out a row or block and the Garden Planner will calculate how many plants will fit in the space you have.

If space is an issue, try growing potatoes in containers or special potato sacks. Salad or early varieties of potato are best. Make sure the container-grown potatoes don’t get too hot or dry during the summer.

Disease Resistance

Potatoes can fall prey to blight, a fungus that can ruin the crop, and are also commonly affected by scurf and scab.

Early varieties are normally less at risk of blight.  Choose varieties described as ‘resistant’ or ‘tolerant’ to these and other common diseases. New disease-resistant varieties are constantly being developed, so it’s worth checking every year to see what’s available.

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Reader Comments

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potatoes seeds

Where in Botswana potato seeds are sold?

scabby potato remedy please

I have scabby potatoes...never reuse my own..always new seeds....but still get scabby......what is missing in my soil....don't have enough garden space to plant in different areas each year.

potato scab

Potato scab is a bacterial disease that can stay in the soil over winter. It helps to rotate your crops; if you don’t have space, you might consider growing your potatoes in a container and replacing the soil each year. Choose scab-resistant potato varieties. Also, be sure to water when the tubers start to form on the potato plants – dry soil during this time may encourage the disease, so water every few days as needed, so moist but not soggy. Soil pH is also a factor – pH around 5.0 to 5.2 discourages scab, but at this level, plants may not take up nutrients as efficiently; be sure to check soil pH periodically and add sulfur to lower pH as needed.

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