Growing Late Season Potatoes
Late season potatoes are grown from tubers that have been stored at a precise temperature to keep them dormant until they are sent to you between June and late July. Grow them after you’ve finished harvesting your second earlies.
How to plant late season potatoes
Late season potatoes can be planted as soon as they arrive, without needing to be chitted. They’ll grow rapidly in warm summer soil. Plant them either in the ground or in containers. A dustbin, for example, can hold up to four potato plants, while smaller containers of around 30 litres volume can hold a single potato plant each.
If you’re planting in containers, place your seed potatoes onto a layer of compost between 10-15cm deep, then cover with another layer of compost around the same thickness. Water well, apply liquid fertiliser and cover with more soil around the stems as the potatoes grow.
If you’re planting in the ground, pick a warm, sunny spot in your garden. Make a shallow trench, and plant 30cm apart in rows that are at least 60cm apart. Rake the soil back over and water in. Remember to ‘earth up’ your rows at two to three week intervals to keep developing tubers covered, and to encourage more to grow.
Caring for late season potatoes
Because you’re growing them later in the year, you may need to protect your crop from frost damage. If the temperature does plummet, use cloches or horticultural fleece to cover your plants, remembering to remove them again when the sun comes back out. For additional details on caring for your crop, take a look at our special guide on how to grow potatoes.
When to harvest late season potatoes
It’s time to unearth your late season potatoes when the leaves begin to turn yellow. To check they’re ready, use a fork or spade to dig a few up. With potatoes grown in containers, simply upturn them (if you do this on a tarpaulin it’s easier to clear up!), and pull the compost away to reveal the tubers. Ready for eating from late October, do remember to leave some in the ground or in their containers undisturbed so that you can enjoy some mouth-watering, just-harvested potatoes on Christmas Day.
For more information on growing potatoes, head over to our guide to potato season where you’ll find all you need to know about early, main season, and late-cropping varieties.