British Queen Seed Potatoes
British Queen Seed Potatoes

British Queen Seed Potatoes

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British Queens are 'Second Early' seed potatoes. Second Early potato's are ready for harvest by June/July.

This “Heritage Potato” is widely grown for it’s plentiful yields, shape and delicious flavour. Short oval white skinned tubers with white floury flesh make this variety the perfect potato for roasting.

Advice for planting seed potatoes:

*Follow advice below for Second Earlies when planting British Queens

WHERE?

Seed potatoes can grow in almost any soil type, but ideally, they prefer to be grown in deep, well-drained, fertile soil that’s not too heavy. Soil can easily be enriched with plenty of organic materials. This will help retain water and nutrients for your potatoes to grow big and healthy.

Potatoes dislike frost, so a south facing patch that gets plenty of sun is ideal.

Please note that potatoes are also susceptible to a wide range of pests, including slugs and aphids.

If you are planting potatoes every year, you should rotate your crop by leaving a gap of 3-4 years before planting in the same ground again. This helps reduce diseases among the crop.

WHEN?

First earlies, second earlies and maincrop – this refers simply to how long it takes between planting and harvesting.

First & Second Earlies – Plant March to April (as the weather begins to turn milder), minimum 10 weeks to mature (13-15 weeks for second earlies), harvest around June.

Maincrop – Plant mid to late April, allow roughly 20 weeks to mature and harvest from August onwards. Maincrop will take up the most space in your garden but they are the best varieties for storing to use at a later date.

ON ARRIVAL

When you buy your seed potatoes you should begin the process of ‘chitting’. This just means encouraging the potato grow a sprout. This can be done in a frost-free sunny area. The easiest way is to place your potatoes in an egg carton, the blunt end with most eyes facing upwards. The short shoots that appear will get the potatoes off to a good start when planted. While not essential for maincrop seeds, we strongly recommend chitting for your earlies. Small green or purple shoots approximately 1 inch long are ideal. Long white shoots are a sign of excess heat and not enough light.

PLANTING

Planting usually starts by making a ‘V’ shaped drill about 5” deep in your soil. Or, if you have limited space and light enough soil, you can make a hole to carefully drop your potato into. Rows should be made 24” apart for early varieties, and 30” apart for maincrop. Seed spacing within the rows, earlies should be placed 12” apart, maincrop 15”.

After planting out along the drills, gently cover each potato with a handful of peat or fine soil. Make sure not to snap off the sprouts, they are easily broken! The potatoes should have a covering of approximately 3” of soil.

EARTHING UP!

As your plants grow, earth or soil needs to be used to cover the potatoes as they begin to show above the surface. This is to prevent the tubers turning green from exposure to light, and therefore inedible. Earthing up can be done to cover some leaves as well; this will not do your crop any harm. Repeat the process until the ridges become 8 inches high.

FOOD AND WATER

Adding fertiliser can increase harvest, however, avoid high nitrogen rates as they will delay crop maturity. Potatoes love moisture, particularly when the tubers begin to form around flowering time. Give the crop a good heavy soaking as this helps get down deep into the roots. Rainfall should be sufficient especially on the West coast of Ireland! However, in periods of dry weather they should be supplemented with water.

HARVESTING

When to harvest depends on dates of planting, variety and also local weather conditions throughout the season. Generally:

First Earlies – We love to eat from the garden freshly harvested, June-July

Second Earlies – Same as first, small quantities eaten fresh in late June-July.

Maincrop – Lift from September onwards normally. When storing, ensure the tubers are thoroughly dried, and stored in a breathable sack, in a cool, dark dry place.

* These are growing guidelines and depend on local conditions.