Potatoes are a great vegetable to grow on an allotment or in a garden, but I’m always getting asked, ‘Can you grow potatoes year-round?’.
The quick answer is no – the cut-off point will be the date of your first frost (around November), so you need to calculate the last planting time by working backwards according to the variety you are growing.
The best time to plant potatoes will depend on the variety, which are grouped by early, mid and maincrop.
Early-season potatoes, also known as first earlies, are typically planted in late March to early April. Varieties like ‘Arran Pilot’, ‘Duke of York’, and ‘Rocket’ fall into this category. They are typically ready to harvest about 10-12 weeks after planting, providing a fresh crop in June and July. Planting in late March allows the potato plants to establish themselves before the risk of frost passes, while still avoiding the more severe late winter frosts.
Mid-season potatoes, or second earlies, follow the early-season potatoes. Planting is typically done in early to mid-April, with varieties like ‘Kestrel’, ‘Jazzy’, and ‘Charlotte’ being popular choices.
These potatoes take a bit longer to mature, with a growing period of about 16-17 weeks. This makes their harvest time fall in late July to early August, offering a delightful fresh crop for summer dishes.
Late-season potatoes, also known as maincrop potatoes, are planted slightly later than the other varieties, typically from mid to late April. These include varieties like ‘Desiree’, ‘King Edward’, and ‘Maris Piper’, which are well-loved by many UK gardeners.
With a growing period of about 20 weeks, these potatoes are typically ready to harvest in late August to September. Their longer growth period results in larger potatoes that are perfect for storing and using through the winter months.
|Variety Type||Potato Varieties||Ideal Planting Time|
|Early-Season||‘Arran Pilot’, ‘Duke of York’, ‘Rocket’||Late March to Early April|
|Mid-Season||‘Kestrel’, ‘Jazzy’, ‘Charlotte’||Early to Mid-April|
|Late-Season||‘Desiree’, ‘King Edward’, ‘Maris Piper’||Mid to Late April|
Using Greenhouses or Indoor Gardens
If you don’t live in a region with a mild climate, another option for year-round potato growing could be using a greenhouse or an indoor garden. These controlled environments can provide the necessary cool, well-lit conditions that potatoes need to grow.
Growing potatoes indoors or in a greenhouse requires careful management of light, temperature, and humidity. However, with the right setup, it can provide a continuous supply of potatoes throughout the year.
Considerations for Year-Round Growing
While the prospect of year-round potato growing is appealing, it’s essential to note that continual potato planting in the same soil can increase the risk of pests and diseases, which can persist in the soil and affect future crops. If you plan to grow potatoes year-round, it is crucial to practice good crop rotation and regularly amend your soil to keep it nutrient-rich and healthy.
In conclusion, year-round potato growing is possible in some climates or with a greenhouse or indoor garden. However, it requires strategic planning, regular care, and careful attention to soil health and disease management. With these considerations in mind, you can work towards a continuous supply of homegrown potatoes throughout the year.
Potatoe planting time FAQS
Can you grow potatoes all year round in a greenhouse?
Yes, you can technically grow potatoes all year round in a greenhouse as long as you can maintain an adequate environment for them. By using a greenhouse, you can control the temperature and lighting, protecting the plants from harsh weather conditions. However, you should also ensure that the plants get enough ventilation to prevent diseases.
What’s the latest I can plant potatoes?
In the UK, the latest you would typically want to plant maincrop potatoes is in late April to ensure they have enough time to mature before the first frosts of autumn. However, if you have a greenhouse, you could potentially plant later in the season.
Can I plant potatoes in June?
In the UK, potatoes are usually planted between March and April. However, you can still plant some varieties in June, specifically fast-maturing second cropping or ‘Christmas’ potatoes, which should be ready to harvest in around 11 weeks.
What potatoes can I plant in October in the UK?
October is typically too late to plant most types of potatoes outdoors in the UK. However, you can plant second cropping potatoes in a greenhouse for a late harvest, often referred to as ‘Christmas’ potatoes.
How late can you plant main crop potatoes in the UK?
Maincrop potatoes should typically be planted by mid to late April in the UK. These varieties need a longer growing period, and planting them too late could mean they don’t mature fully before the weather turns colder and the risk of frost increases.
What can I plant after potatoes in August in the UK?
After harvesting your potatoes in August, you can plant a range of fast-growing crops that enjoy cooler weather, such as winter lettuce, spinach, radishes, or quick-growing varieties of salad leaves. You could also consider planting green manure to improve soil fertility for the next growing season.
What potatoes can I plant in August in the UK?
August is typically too late to plant most potatoes for outdoor harvest in the UK, but you can plant second cropping potatoes, often called ‘Christmas’ potatoes, in containers or a greenhouse for a late harvest.
Can you leave potatoes in the ground over winter in the UK?
While you technically can leave potatoes in the ground over winter, it’s usually not recommended because they may rot or become victim to pests. Also, the freeze-thaw process could damage them. It’s best to harvest your potatoes and store them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place for use over the winter.
What are late-season potatoes in the UK?
Late-season potatoes in the UK, also known as maincrop potatoes, are varieties that take longer to mature, typically around 20 weeks. These include varieties such as ‘Desiree’, ‘King Edward’, and ‘Maris Piper’. They are usually planted from mid to late April and harvested from late August to September.
How long do potatoes take to grow?
The length of time it takes for potatoes to grow depends on the variety. Early-season potatoes can be ready in as little as 10-12 weeks, mid-season potatoes typically take around 16-17 weeks, and late-season potatoes usually require around 20 weeks. The exact timing can vary based on weather conditions and the specific growing environment.
Brian Sheridan has an allotment in Edgbaston and is a competitive grower. Brian is also a keen photographer and loves cooking. Brian and his wife Mary will also be running a stall at Edgebaston artisan market this year, selling products made from the allotment, including his award-winning relish!