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Tatty advice

I got back into gardening in a big way early this year and had a go at growing potatoes.

Picked up bags of First Early, Second Early and Main Crop seed potatoes from the local garden center. Chitted them and planted a bit late as the ground was very wet to work after the winter. I planted in trenches, put in some handfuls of growmore and earthed up the plants well.

Results were mixed.


The First Early crop would have been great, good sized tatties, but sadly about two thirds of them had rotted in the ground.

The Second early crop did better, good sized crop, nice sized tatties, a few too many of what I thought might be worm holes (small brown tunnels running deep into the potatoes), but very acceptable.

The Main Crop, loads of tatties, but they are all tiny, none bigger than two inches long and many much smaller and difficult to peal.

We have heavy Essex clay, First Early were Red Duke of York, Main crop Golden Wonder. 

I want to have a go again next year in a fresh plot, wondered if there are any tips or suggestions for potato varieties that might do better on clay, or ideas why I got such mixed results from each variety?

I'm doing a lot to improve the ground (double digging) after each tatty crop as I read they don't like newly manured ground.



  • FleurisaFleurisa Posts: 779

    First and only time I grew Red Duke of York they were no good and went squishy. I've never had problems with Charlotte which are classed as 2nd early, left them in next to a different variety of potatoes and the Charlottes were untouched by slugs, the other variety were nearly all damaged. Some people don't dig trenches for their potatoes, instead they just grow them in a big pile of compost on top of the soil surface. Digging well rotted manure into the ground would definitely help the condition of the soil.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,069

    The holes were likely produced by black keeled slug which live in the soil and they seem to love clay (and potatoes!)  Try and choose varieties which have some slug resistance - Kestrel (2nd early) do well here in my keeled slug infested clay and taste great.  More are listed about half way down this RHS potato advice page:


    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    Thanks for the replies! That's been a lot of help, I'm glad in away I'm not alone in not getting much luck with Red Duke of York as it makes it easier to avoid the variety in the future rather than thinking I just did something wrong. image

    Reading through the RHS page I think my main crop was too dry in the hot summer as they disintegrate when cooked, might explain why they were really small too.

    Looked up some pictures of potato slug damage, yep that's what I had  Bob, will pick slug resistant varieties for 2015.image


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