Potatoes are an easy crop to grow and provide a lot of calories, as such they would be a great crop to grow all year round. But is this possible in the UK? Can you grow potatoes all year round? let’s have a look and find out.
Can You Grow Potatoes All Year Round In The UK?
So with that said, there are a few caveats. In order to successfully and reliably grow winter potatoes in the UK, you do really need some cover such as a greenhouse or polytunnel.
Let’s start at the beginning of the year and find out how to grow potatoes for a spring harvest. This will also be the hardest time to grow potatoes as it will mean we will be growing them over winter.
To start with you need to get the right variety, I recommend something like a Charlotte. You will also have to buy these in advance as you are unlikely to find seed potatoes in winter!
To keep your seed potatoes ready to grow you need to keep them in a cool, dark spot from late summer onwards.
When you have decided to plant them, for a spring harvest this will be late September or October, just pop them straight into the ground. You don’t need to chit these potatoes first.
Protecting Over Winter
The hardest part of spring potatoes is keeping them protected over winter. Potatoes are not hardy and a harsh frost will kill them off.
If you have a heated greenhouse then you will be fine but most gardeners don’t have a heated greenhouse. To try and keep the frost off your potatoes grow in a greenhouse or polytunnel.
This on its own wont be enough though and they will require extra protection if the weather gets particularly cold. You can cover them with fleece and also insulate your greenhouse with something like bubble wrap.
Even still you may lose these spuds, this is just something you have to be prepared for. This is the most difficult time to grow potatoes in the UK.
Plant first early varieties in spring for a summer harvest, these will tend to be smaller “new” potatoes but you can grow larger ones too.
Potatoes normally take 10-12 weeks to reach a harvestable size at this time of year. You shouldn’t have too many issues unless we have an unusually late frost.
If we do then try and cover your potatoes with fleece to give them a little extra protection.
This is the traditional time for harvesting potatoes in the UK so you won’t have any trouble here. Grow main crop varieties for an Autumn harvest.
Plant maincrop potatoes from March to May and they will usually take around 20 weeks to develop properly. So expect harvests around July or August.
Despite the ominous-sounding “winter harvest” these are not the most difficult potatoes to grow and spring harvesting potatoes are actually harder to grow.
Again like for spring potatoes we want to grow a second cropping variety like a Charlotte.
Plant from late summer through into early autumn for winter croppings. The later you plant these the more likely you are to need to plant them in a greenhouse or polytunnel in order for them to survive.