How to Grow Potatoes


  • Overview
  • Choosing the Right Location
  • How to Chit Potatoes
  • Ground Preparation
  • How to Sow Seed Potatoes
  • How to Earth Up Your Potatoes
  • How to Harvest
  • Pests & Diseases


Potatoes are a still Ireland’s most popular vegetable. Since its introduction to Ireland by Sir Walter Raleigh it has become an integral part of our everyday cuisine with almost 150million Euros spent on potatoes every year.

There are 1000’s of different potato varieties, the most popular being: Rooster, Queen, Kerr’s Pink, Maris Piper and Golden Wonder. Each different spud has distinct colours, shapes and flavour and all are worth growing even if you only have the smallest of spaces.

Spuds are divided into 3 growing groups

  • Earlies: These can be sown in mid March to mid April and are small crops that mature fast allowing you to sow a second crop later in July
  • Second Earlies: These are slower to mature and take 16-17 weeks to mature. They can be harvested between July and September. Varieties include: Queens and Orla
  • Maincrop: The largest and longest in the ground, the mains are sown in mid April onwards and can be harvested late into autumn. Varieties include: Kerr’s pink, Golden Wonder and Records

The steps involved in growing potatoes are easy to follow, just read these simple steps and get out and get planting!

Choosing the Right Location for Growing Potatoes

  • Potatoes like deep, fertile soil with a low pH of approx 5.5. If you are unsure of your soil pH, we provide soil test kits and tips and advice on how to improve your soil
  • Locate your vegetable garden in full sun and a sheltered location that is not exposed to strong winds and in not in a low lying frost pocket

Chit Your Seed Potatoes (Optional)

How to Sow Your Seed Potatoes

Earthing Up Your Potatoes

  • Just cover up the growing stems as high as you can with soil from between drills
  • Earth up the potatoes when they are around 10-15cm high
  • Do this 3 times over the growing season

Harvesting Your Potatoes

  • Earlies can be harvested first, harvest earlies soon after flowering
  • Main crops require time in the soil to fill out after flowering
  • Water well one week before lifting
  • Use a garden fork to lift roots from soil
  • Be sure to dig down 2 foot into soil and remove all tubers, this is very important to prevent blight build up in the soil
  • Potatoes can be stored in the ground as late as October

Pests & Diseases for Potatoes

  • Pests: slugs, wireworms
  • Wireworms: A larvae which burrows into roots leaving small irregular holes throughout
  • Control: Common in poorly kept or newly developed vegetable patch. Avoid long grass and untidy plots
  • Chemical control an option if pest problem is severe
  • Disease: Blight, this is most common in midsummer in damp warm conditions, stay tuned to weather alerts such as Met Eireann
  • Notice: brown spots on leaves, foliage begins to rot, foliage turns black, tubers begin to rot
  • Control: choose disease resistant seed potatoes or spray crops prior to infection with copper sulphate. A common spray available on the market is the burgundy mixture

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