FAQs How do I …What is…when…?

Your potato questions. Answered.

We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions about grow your own potatoes here. No matter what stage you are in the potato year, we are here to help. Whether you need help to identify which variety to grow, where and how to plant, when to harvest or how to store please let us know. If you need more information please contact us.

🥔Before I buy I need to know…

We have an entire page to help you! Which Potato Should I Choose? Whether you chose by colour, crop type or by a name that takes your fancy, we can help you decide!
  • Quite simply it is the length of time taken for the plant to mature and give a good harvest. If you planted a tuber of each cropping type on the same day, the earlies would be ready first.
  • Early potatoes are what we think of when new potatoes are mentioned – harvest cooked and eaten within a few hours for that magical new potato taste. New potatoes are often quite expensive in shops and so many gardeners like to grow these. They take 10-12 weeks to mature and are usually harvested before blight sets in. These potatoes do not store for too long. Can be planted up until the end of June.
  • Second Earlies take slightly longer at around 14-16 weeks to mature.
  • Early Main Crop and Main Crop (sometimes lumped together) take around 15 – 22 week respectively to mature and these varieties are the ones that will store for much longer. Main crops can be planted till around the middle of May depending on where you are in the UK.
  • There is so much variation in the weather throughout the UK it is hard to give definitive dates as to when to plant. The idea is to have the last frost in your area to be finished before they plant comes through.
  • There is obviously some overlap in these broad definitions and other factors such as chitting, soil, weather, location in the garden as well as personal preference to be taken into account. Most people will either stagger planting or plant different crop types to ensure a long supply of homegrown potatoes.
  • Recently a 5th crop type has been talked about – the Late Season for Christmas Market. These potatoes can be any crop type and are grown accordingly. We have an information page about growing late season potatoes.
Measure the area you are going to plant and you will need roughly 4 per square meter. If you are planting in a pot, make sure the pot is deep enough. Ideally, it should be a minimum of 30cm.
There are about 12 - 14 tubers depending on the variety. This should cover about 3 squared meters.
All seed is sold as 35mm x 55mm unless otherwise specified.
You really should only use certified seed potatoes. Potatoes sprouting at the back of cupboards can carry diseases that have been eradicated from UK by hard working farmers. Many people use shop bought seeds and are fine - it's a bit like wearing a cycle helmet - nothing to worry about until you fall off. Many diseases are put down to blight or frost damage as usually general gardeners can't recognise other diseases. Some diseases like ring rot are notifiable - do you know who to inform? If the disease spreads to a commercial crop it can decimate an entire crop.
  • The diseases only show in the growing season and so are fine to eat - it's when you plant them that the problems can start.
  • Yields can be lower as the crops can be sprayed with anti growth.
  • Also you are stuck with the bland tasting supermarket varieties!
  • All our potatoes are certified seed and we are proud to be members of Safe Haven. We are inspected throughout the season and this is our guarantee to you of top quality potatoes free of some diseases. This and all our other certificates can be seen
  • We are growing and supplying over 100 varieties of potato this year and some are grown to order - these are not even listed on our web.
  • We simply do not have the room to grow every variety each year and so if you are looking for a variety that you bought from us before and we now don't stock it, we may have it in the future.
  • Some varieties are sold out before the start of the season - we will have most of the crop sold and will perhaps have some available later.  Varieties can also show sold out if we need to bag more up and so if you are after a particular variety, it is worth checking with us.  Towards the end of the season, we may think we have more but then the quality could quickly deteriorate.

🥔What are the payment, delivery and returns terms?

We have discounts which are applied automatically at check out
  • Any combination of any variety of 6 Tuber nets and 1kg nets - £1/kg discount if you order 5-9nets in total. £2/kg discount if you order 10+ nets in total.
  • 25kg bags of any variety - £5/25kg discount if you order 4-7bags in total. £12/25kg discount if you order 8+ bags in total.
  • Further discounts are available for wholesale orders over 250kg (20%), 500kg (25%), 750kg (30%), 1000kg (32.55) in total.  Please contact us at for more info. If you are looking for our prices for 1T or 1.25T bags of the same variety for commercial planting, please call us.
We supply many allotment groups and potato days. Please email or call us and we will help you with quantities and varieties and put together a special deal for you.
You can pay by the following methods:
  • PAYPAL / CREDIT CARD. These are our preferred payment methods, you do NOT need to have a PayPal account and can still pay via credit card. This payment is instant and it automatically puts your order to processing. This is secure for both customer and supplier. We do not get your credit card details.
  • We can accept orders over the phone via credit card.
  • BACS: This is not automatic, and we have to manually check our account which may not be done each day. Your order will not begin to be processed until we confirm that your money is in our account.
  • CHEQUE: Please be aware that payment by cheque is a very slow process. After it has been in the post to us cheques are only processed once a week as we do not work near a bank. It then needs to clear which can take 2 days. Only when we have checked that the money has cleared in our account can the order begin to be processed.
Once your money is confirmed in our account, we aim to dispatch within 3 days.
  • All prices include delivery costs within UK.
  • We also accept online orders from Republic of Ireland but an extra surcharge of £15 will be added. For any other destinations, please contact us directly via email or phone and we shall get a quote for you.
  • If you wish to pick up we offer a 15% discount.  By default, this option will only appear for local postcodes.  If yours doesn't appear, use our postcode DD3 0QN in the "Deliver to Address".  Note that your order may still take a day or two to organise and we will contact you when your order is ready. We operate on a working farm with machinery, vehicles and livestock and so please keep children and pets inside your car when picking up. This is only available for orders up to £50 - if you wish to pick up a larger order, please contact us prior to ordering.
  • Ideally you need to figure out when the last frost date is and work backwards from there! It is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle!
  • When you start to chit depends on many things and the main thing is when you want to plant and harvest. Many people plant in March or April whereas others wait until May.
  • Chitting is advisable for earlier planting - it wakes the seed up from its dormancy ready to "hit the ground running".
  • We would advise that you take delivery of your seed potatoes in Jan / Feb to allow 4-6 weeks chitting for planting in Mar / April.  Although this can be a bit later for customers in Scotland due to frost dates.
  • There is no hard or fast rule though! If you are planting later in the year, there is little or no advantage to chitting and potatoes bought in April or May can go straight into the ground.
  • Some people prefer to take delivery as soon as we start to dispatch - if you do this, keep your seed potatoes in a cool (but not freezing) and dark place until you are ready to begin the process.
  • Most varieties are available between November and May.
  • To ensure your order arrives in the best possible condition, deliveries will be made as soon as all the varieties on your order are available, using an appropriate courier or postal service.
  • We aim to dispatch within 3 days and then delivery will take 3-4 days.
  • All products ordered will be sent together under the one delivery charge. If you require us to split the delivery please let us know and a secondary postal charge will be payable.
  • Let us know of a safe place, preferably under cover, in which your parcel can be left in the event of no one being home when the delivery is attempted.
  • If you want a specific week, let us know in the information box and we will do our best to send it out then.
  • If you choose to pay by BACS or cheque we will not begin to process your order until your payment has been received and cleared.
  • During times of frost or low temperatures deliveries will be held back until more favourable conditions prevail.
  • Some deliveries may be delayed if we have to re- stock certain varieties, we will try to keep you informed of any delays.
Sorry no, we don't. The farm is quite rural and the nearest drop off points for both the courier and post office are around 10 miles away. In order for us to get there for a next day pick up (early afternoon) we would need a member of staff and a vehicle away for over an hour. We are a small company and simply do not have enough staff for this. All deliveries are taken for dispatch at around 4pm.
  • Contact us as soon as possible! Whether you have changed your mind on variety, amount or indeed whether you wish to cancel the order, we can help if we catch the order prior to dispatch.
  • If the order has been dispatched and you wish to order more, please place another order.
  • If the order has been dispatched and you wish to change variety or amount, or wish to cancel, you will be liable for returning the unwanted goods to us in an unused condition in a timely manner. Only once goods are returned to us and checked will we be able to issue any refund MINUS OUR POSTAL COSTS.
  • Please see our Terms for further details.
If any of the varieties you have ordered become sold out or in any other way unavailable, we will replace them with the next most suitable variety. If the replacement is more expensive the extra cost will not be passed on. If the price is less will add extra seed to make up the difference. If you have a preferred replacement please notify us in the information box (eg must be organic, or another red variety). We will try to let you know before the order is dispatched via phone or email.
  • We pride ourselves in the quality of our seed, but as we are dealing with fresh produce, there are rare occasions where the quality is not up to the standard we aim for and our customers have come to expect.
  • Please check the quality of your order as soon as it arrives. Orders are sent out normally on 48 hour deliveries your seed should be in perfect condition as they are visually checked prior to dispatch. If there is any defect or quality problem with the seed on arrival you must inform us by email or in writing within 7 days of delivery. Where possible, pictures should be included.
  • As our potatoes are fresh produce, we cannot accept responsibility for any deterioration of the seed after that time unless under special circumstances. If there is a valid reason for complaint, we will either replace or refund part or all your order, whichever you prefer. We may require you to return the original order - postage will be refunded if the quality is sub-standard.
  • Please see our Terms for further details.
After delivery it is your responsibility to store the seed in the correct manner. Any deterioration of your seed after the initial complaints period of 7 days will be at your own risk. If you do not have the correct conditions to store the seed correctly it would be better to ask for delivery 2 to 4 weeks before planting. If you want to chit your potato seed then January or February would be a good time for delivery if you live in the South of England, whereas March would be better if you live further north.

🥔How do I chit, plant, grow and harvest my potatoes? What problems will I have?

  • Chitting is simply waking the seed potato up after its winter dormancy ready to grow.
  • It is definitely a good idea to chit, but to do this you need to get your seed nice and early – maybe January or February if you are in the South of England and March or April if you are in North of Scotland. The aim is to have your potatoes come through the ground after the last frost in your area as the new plant is susceptible to frost.
  • Chitted seed will be ready to grow much quicker once Spring arrives and the soil warms up. Chitted seed should come through the ground in about 2 weeks.
  • If you buy your seed in April or May, however, then there is little or no advantage in chitting since the soil temperature will be ok for planting, though the unchitted seed will take c4 weeks to come through the ground.
  • Remove the seed potatoes from the net as soon as you receive them (as the shoots will grow through the nets and can break if you try to remove them) and put them in an egg carton in a sunny window sill. The shoots will start to sprout and when they are around an inch long they will be ready to plant.
  • You can plant potatoes up until June and even later if you have some late season ones. See our page how to choose for a description of the different crop types.
  • There is a common myth that you can cut the tuber up to give a better yield. We do not advise this. Tubers have enough stored energy to get to the surface and produce a healthy crop. By cutting they you are risking the tuber going mouldy as it has no skin to protect it and lower yields.
  • Potatoes like to be watered but not water-logged and so ensure your pot or area has good drainage.
  • Potatoes need a sunny site away from frost pockets - the newly emerging foliage is susceptible to frost damage in April and May. The ground can be prepared the previous autumn or winter by digging in organic matter such as well-rotted animal manure or compost. Do not use an an area that has had potatoes or tomatoes in it the previous year as some diseases can remain in the soil.
  • The traditional planting method is to dig a narrow trench 12cm (5in) deep. The seed tubers are spaced 30cm (12in) apart for earlies and 37cm (15in) for maincrop varieties in rows 24in (60cm) apart for earlies and 75cm (30in) apart for maincrop. Apply a general purpose fertiliser at this stage. When the emerging shoots come through, you need to "earth" or "mound" them up - this is counter intuitive. Do this several times. This encourages downward growth - the new tubers will jostle for space and any growing near the surface will turn green.
  • Small crops of potatoes can also be grown in large, deep containers, and this is a good way of getting an early batch of new potatoes. Fill the bottom 15cm (6in) of the container with potting compost and plant the seed potato just below this. As the new stems start growing, keep adding compost until the container is full.
Each variety has a different flower, but in some years they are absent or only appear briefly. This is down to lots of different factors such as weather and soil. Some varieties hardly flower even in optimum conditions. Potatoes are almost unique in that they do not need a flower to germinate in order to produce the next generation, the new tubers grow underground and are true to the parent. They may differ in size and colour, but the DNA of the new tubers will be true to the parent. No flower does not mean a failed crop.
After flowering, some plants will produce a seed pod which looks like a tomato. If planted, they could grow to be a potato, but the seedlings will not grow true to the parent - it will depend on what it was pollinated with - it will take 5 years and a lot of luck for something to produce new tubers - and even then they might not taste good. Just compost them. If you have curious toddlers around, it might be an idea to remove the pod in case they try to eat them . They are not poisonous to the touch. Breeders are the only people who need these and wouldn't touch the ones on random plants. They have them pollinated in controlled environments so they know what has been x with what. We are breeding new potato varieties and you can read about it in our story page.
  • With earlies, wait until the flowers open or the buds drop; the tubers are ready to harvest when they are the size of hens' eggs. With maincrops for storage wait until the foliage turns yellow, then cut it and remove it. Leave for 10 days before harvesting the tubers - this allows the skin to set, leaving them to dry for a few hours before storing.
  • Early Potatoes do not store long and so should be eaten within a few days of harvest. Once you have chopped the leaves down from the Main Crop, you can leave in the soil for a week to 1o days. This allows the skins to set. Do not wash them at this time as the soil will help to keep them in great condition. These will store for a few months in a cool (not freezing) dark place, such as in a shed, under the stair or utility room. Storing them in a box or hessian bag allows them still to breath - a plastic container would not allow airflow and could go mouldy.

    Please also see our story to give you some background information about our company and the varieties we chose to grow for you. Our certificates are located on this page as well.

    If you can’t find an answer, please contact us we will do our best to help.