In 1995, five small potatoes were grown from tubers on-orbit, aboard the space shuttle Columbia. While the potatoes in your garden won’t reach such astronomical heights, with our simple growing guide, they’ll go a long way in your garden and kitchen.
What a spud
The humble potato is not only easy to grow and super versatile in the kitchen, packed with fibre, potassium and vitamin C, it’s also good for you.
Top of the crop
Like us, potatoes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are destined for hot chip greatness while others are happiest tossed in a salad. From the classic, creamy Desiree to the striking purple-tinged Sapphire, we have 16 varieties of certified seed potatoes for you to choose from. Each potato seed is untreated and virus, disease and fungus free. Find our complete list of potato varieties available instore below.
- Dutch cream
- King Edward
- Otway Red
- Pink Eyes
- Pink Fir Apple
- Royal Blue
- Russet Burbank
- Snow Gem
There are so many ways to enjoy potatoes. Click to see which varieties are best for each method of cooking.
More than meets the eye
A seed potato is actually a potato with 'eyes'. These eyes sprout a fleshy shoot from which new potatoes may arise. If your potato seed doesn’t have shoots, leave it out in a well-lit spot for several weeks until it develops one centimetre long shoots.
Where to grow potatoes
Potatoes can be grown virtually anywhere, from a garden bed to a hessian sack, a large pot or even an old bucket (just make sure to create drainage holes). Whatever you grow your potatoes in, always allow for extra layers of soil, mulch or straw, up to one metre.
When to grow potatoes
Potatoes can be grown year round, but generally like long bouts of mild weather, as when the weather gets warmer, the risk of pests and disease increases.
Five steps to potato perfection
Step 1: Prep your soil by digging in plenty of organic matter, like cow manure or blood and bone.
Step 2: If you’re planting your potatoes in a garden bed, use the trenching method, which involves digging a trench. It’s the easiest way to grow potatoes in a garden bed. If you’re planting in a hessian bag or similar, use the stacking method. This is a great way to grow potatoes in a small space, as it forces the potatoes to grow up.
Step 3: Potatoes like moist soil, but not too moist otherwise they may rot. Make sure the soil allows for plenty of drainage and choose a spot that enjoys at least six hours of sunlight daily.
Step 4: Put your seed potatoes in the soil, 25 to 30 centimetres apart and 15 centimetres deep. Cover with about 25 to 30 centimetres of mulch.
Step 5: About three weeks from planting, potato shoots will begin to push up through the soil. Once you see these shoots, add more soil, mulch or straw on top, halfway up the shoots (don't cover the shoots). Adding to the soil (or mounding as it’s known) is the key to growing potatoes successfully. Mounding will retain moisture and protect the potatoes from light, which encourages more potatoes to sprout. Potatoes exposed to light turn green and develop a toxic substance. Keep adding layers of soil, mulch or straw as the sprouts continue to grow.
Cut your potatoes in half or quarters for more yield, but ensure cut pieces are allowed to dry before planting to minimise risk of rotting.
Give your potatoes a regular deep watering.
As your potatoes grow, give them a liquid feed, with an organic liquid fertiliser or a chemical-based fertiliser such as Thrive.
Harvesting will depend on the potato variety, but you can generally harvest 60 to 130 days after planting. You’ll also notice the leaves begin to die back when the potatoes are ready to be harvested. To harvest, simply lift the potatoes out of the soil and dry thoroughly.
As you would store-bought potatoes, store your harvest in a dark, cool place. Potatoes must be stored out of light to avoid potato greening (they should not be kept in the fridge). With good storage your potatoes can last for weeks, if not months. Read more about storing your vegetable harvest.
Potatoes can be affected by fungal disease, which begins with leaf spots and spreads to the stems and potatoes. A regular dusting of Yates Tomato & Vegetable Dust will help. Use pyrethrum to keep aphids at bay. Caterpillars may try to munch on potato leaves, so use Success ULTRA to keep them away. Growing certified seed potatoes will help to avoid potato pests.