TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

January 27, 2008

Early Potato Varieties to grow in the Vegetable Garden

Filed under: fruit, potato — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 6:22 pm

There are several different varieties of early potatoes to grow in the vegetable garden, and some are listed below with their specific characteristics.
The three growing seasons for potatoes are:

  • New Potatoes, or earlies
  • Second earlies
  • Maincrop

Early potatoes are planted from January to March and are ready for digging from May-July.
Second earlies are planted between February and May and harvested from July to October.
Maincrop potatoes are planted in April and harvesting is in September and October.
Second earlies and maincrop can be stored over the winter.
Examples of early potato varieties are:
Ultra-Early Potato – Lady Christl

  • high yielding
  • numerous uniform attractive tubers
  • good all round disease resistance, although it is slightly susceptible to  Foliage Blight
  • excellent cooking qualities.

Extra Early Salad Potato – Rocket

  • firm, waxy texture tubers
  • good for chipping
  • responds well under polythene
  • best under long day length conditions of Northern Europe

Very early – Winston

  • good yields
  • bold white tubers
  • a very short growing season
  • good drought and heat tolerance
  • powdery scab resistance
  • masher, chips,bake,roast

First Early Potato – Sharpes Express

  • low resistance to dry rot, late blight on foliage and late blight on tubers

First Early Potato – Red Duke of York

  • low resistance to late blight on foliage, late blight on tubers, common scab,  potato leafroll virus and potato virus Yo .

First Early Potato – Maris Bard

  • high yielding and early bulking
  • good resistance to potato virus Y, gangrene, potato leaf roll virus, drought,  damage and bruising
  • moderately susceptible to spraing, powdery scab
  • susceptible to potato cyst nematode
  • medium dry matter with good boiling and frying quality
  • good all round cooker

Second Early Potato – British Queen

  • round tubers
  • white skin

Second Early Potato – Charlotte

  • moderate yields
  • uniform, smooth skinned tubers
  • high resistance to foliage and tuber blight
  • susceptible to potato cyst nematode
  • medium dry matter
  • waxy cooked texture
  • salad potato

Second Early Potato – Kestrel

  • good yields of very attractive, long oval, coloured tubers
  • good all round cooking quality
  • good chipping potential, particularly early in the season

Second Early Potato – Edzell Blue

  • heritage variety
  • very floury texture
  • mashes & bakes well, though difficult to boil
  • best known blue- skinned variety

Hi Top Veg,
That is really good info, last year when I first tried growing potatoes I left
it a little late, we still have a reasonable crop but with that info I will do
better this year. Thank you.
Cheers Mark
Comment by Mark – January 27, 2008 1:10 pm
Hi Mark
Thanks for that – somehow we often rush earlies – we wait for ages for
conditions to be right, but still don’t seem to have everything in place! Good
luck with this years planting.
Comment by TopVeg – January 27, 2008 2:08 pm
[...] for the vegetable garden. Below are descriptions of some more examples,
to be added to the ten early potato varieties posted [...]
Pingback by Top Veg » Blog Archive » Which variety of Early Potatoes to Grow
in the Vegetable Garden? – January 28, 2008 5:29 am
It’s so hard to find the ‘perfect’ first early, isn’t it? They all have pluses
and minuses. I like my trusty ‘Orla’, but I experiment with others every year.
This year, though, I’ll definitely be planting mine in February. Winters are
so warm now there’s no point waiting until March.
Comment by Soilman – January 28, 2008 2:01 pm
Hi Soilman
I had forgotten you were an Orla fan – it looks good, and we like bakers! By
chance we have included it in today’s list!
Best wishes
Comment by TopVeg – January 28, 2008 8:24 pm
We have mixed up some Valor with some Lady Christl on our allotment.
Am I right in thinking that the ones that are flowering already withlight
purple flowers are the Lady Christl? or can they flower at the same time – as
I understnad Valor has e same colour flowers.
Comment by Barbara – June 4, 2008 7:46 pm
Hi Barbara
You are right. Both varieties have the same red/violet flower. But Valor is
maincrop, with tall plants which have many berries (after flowering.) Lady
Christl is a first early, & the plant only grows to a medium height. The
berries are absent….
The new potatoes will be slightly different -
Valor are shorter with a white skin & cream flesh. Lady Christl are longer
with cream skin & light yellow flesh.
Hope that helps sort it out!
Comment by TopVeg – June 5, 2008 4:06 am
[...] Maris Bard is a first early potato variety. [...]
Pingback by Top Veg » Blog Archive » Maris Bard Potato Flower – July 25, 2008
5:36 am
I live in Llandudno, North Wales. Can you advise me as to how early I can chit
extra early potatoes please?
Comment by John Hulton – November 14, 2008 4:39 pm
Hi John
You could start some now, spread them out in shallow trays and keep them very
cool and light.
If they have plenty of light, it will hold the sprout back so that you get the
tough, green shoot we are after.
If the shoots start to go spindly, they are not getting enough light.
Let us know how you get on
Comment by TopVeg – November 14, 2008 7:11 pm
Starting to think about 2009 I found your blog and the ’spud u like’ feature
very appropriate.
Comment by Hortoris – December 16, 2008 9:33 am
Thanks Hortoris
good to hear from you
Comment by TopVeg – December 16, 2008 11:19 pm
Thinking about ordering for 2009 also. We particularly enjoy early new
potatoes but are so often disappointed if the potatoes disintegrate and go
mushy on boiling so try to go for the waxier varieties to avoid this. Would
Orla fall into this category?
Comment by Jane – January 4, 2009 9:30 pm
Orla are a waxy potato – so you should be fine. They will cook well – (and
taste fantastic!)
Let us know what you think of them when you have cooked them – Happy New Year
Comment by TopVeg – January 4, 2009 10:46 pm

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  1. Hi Just been eating Premiere earlies this year for the first and only time ,taste just ok , but they tend to disintergrate on boiling.I will try Orla next year .

    Comment by Tony B — July 4, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  2. Try Dunluce big crop of lovely tasting potatoes very early and can harvest early as news potatoes. Charlotte also retains its texture well as a salad potato but can reach a decent size without loosing flavour.

    red duke of your tastes good but not good boiling it as very floury and very susceptible to blight

    Comment by Allan Bayman — July 19, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  3. Hi Allan
    Interesting to hear what you think of these varieties. Dunluce is a new one on me – will have to look into it!

    Thanks for letting TopVeg know what you grow.

    Comment by TopVeg — July 21, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

  4. Hi It was a bit of luck stumbling on to your website. Iam 78 and still enjoy my gardening and still willing to learn. I have a very small garden which keeps me and my wife in vegetables throughout the summer, I grow early potatoes and for the last 2 years have been very disappointed withthe crop it has been plentiful but the pots are floury and we both hate floury pots I am going to try “Rocket” or “Orla” if I can get them You will see by the date of this Email I am going to be late getting them chitted so would be better off with “Charlotte”
    Thank You
    Ray Taylor

    Comment by Ray Taylor — March 1, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

  5. Hi Ray

    Good to hear from you. 78 and still gardening is a good advert for your vegetables!
    Charlotte are certainly not floury potatoes, so you should enjoy them! We have done an article on waxy and floury potatoes at
    I shouldn’t worry about being late with chitting – the ground is still too cold and wet for planting anyway!
    Have you considered joining our forum at
    It would be good to hear more about your gardening on there!
    Best wishes

    Comment by TopVeg — March 1, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

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