The short answer is yes; you can grow potatoes in winter here in the UK. To grow potatoes in winter you need to select the right varieties and grow them in either a heated greenhouse, insulated cold frame or indoors. It’s not quite that simple though so make sure you read our guide to ensure your winter crop survives those cold, cold months.
Choosing the right potato variety
One of the most significant factors that will determine the success of your winter spud crop is choosing the right variety of potato. Below I will list some tremendous hardy varieties that will lead to a delicious winter or spring harvest!
Maris Peer Potato
A very popular second early/early maincrop seed potato variety. Colour - yellow. Shape - long oval. New, boil, steam or mash. Salad Type.
Known as an early potato, the Maris Peer is a delicious new potato suitable to being grown in winter. They have a great flavour and are ideal for both boiling and mashing.
Why grow Maris Peer in winter
They have excellent cold resistance and are often grown in autumn for a Christmas crop. When well cared for they can be grown throughout winter.
Problems with Maris Peer Potatoes
They are not very resistant to potato eelworm, so if this is a known issue for your garden then try a different variety of winter potato.
Colour - yellow. Shape - long oval. High yielding variety, stores well. Tasty 'new' potato variety. Waxy flesh. Ideal for salad, roast. Salad type.
Well known for being one of the easiest new potatoes to grow Nicola has earnt a stellar reputation amongst gardeners for its hardiness and disease resistance. Often used as a boiled new potato in dishes this new potato looks excellent when left with its skin on, an essential factor if you are planning on boiling.
Why grow Nicola in winter
Very hardy and provides exceptional taste, one of the best tasting winter potatoes you will find.
Problems with Nicola Potatoes
Susceptible to potato blight
A latish first early, producing good crops of medium sized oval tubers that are waxy when young and perfect hot or cold. Good blight and scab resistance. Great beginner
Another new potato well known for its taste, suitable for boiling. This hardy variety is another excellent choice for growing over winter.
Why grow Charlotte in winter
Great taste, good cold resistance and easy to grow makes Charlotte a great potato to grow in winter.
Problems with Charlotte Potatoes
Charlotte potatoes can be susceptible to eelworm so if this is a known issue for you then try a different variety.
Planting your winter potatoes
A general rule of thumb is that potatoes will take 12 weeks from planting to providing you with an excellent harvest. Use this rough timescale to work out when you want to plant your winter spuds.
How to plant winter potatoes
This is where you need to be careful. If you live in the UK, you can’t just plant your spuds outside in winter and expect them to grow.
To grown winter potatoes successfully you need to use a greenhouse (preferably heated), Coldframe or grow them indoors in a porch or conservatory.
You need to ensure the tubers will be kept frost-free. A well-insulated greenhouse in a good spot may work well even without heating.
Planting potatoes to grow inside
A great way of growing potatoes in winter is to grow them inside. A porch or conservatory makes a great spot. To start you need to find the right pot, we will outline how to get the most out of you indoor over winter potatoes below.
- Find a large, deep pot. Ideally, over 35cm deep and wide.
- Add some compost to the bottom, garden soil mixed with compost will work just as well. Add around 10cm if you have a small pot, if your pot is deeper, you can add more. Roughly halfway will be a good guide on larger pots.
- Add one potato tuber per pot
- Cover the tubers with soil; ideally 20cm of compost should be placed on top of the tubers to cover them adequately.
- As the potatoes grow and leaves develop earth up your potatoes just as you would if you were growing them outside. This is where larger pots will work well as they leave more room to earth up.
- Ensure the room they are growing in remains frost-free all winter.
- Feed and water the potatoes throughout the winter. A general-purpose fertiliser will be sufficient.
- When the leaves begin to yellow, your spuds are ready for harvest!
- Did you know you can remove the foliage but leave the spuds in the ground until you are ready to eat them?