The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Seed potatoes for 2012



If I don’t move fairly quickly I’ll miss out on ordering a decent selection of seed potatoes for this year. Last years harvest was good and we enjoyed all the new (to us) varieties that we chose, with one exception. Ezel Blue will never darken our cottage door or vegetable patch again. We ended up throwing them away.

International Kidney – from which Jersey Royals were bred – are sweet and delicious. Shape’s Express were a good, fluffy, floury spud. Our Rooster potatoes did well – these need to be boiled in their skins to avoid bursting and are super baked potatoes. The British Queens were fine but not exceptional.

At the Cottage Smallholder Milton Keynes Meetup, Seth presented Danny with a box of interesting looking spuds.
“Yukon Gold are exceptional for baking and roasting.”
I could tell by his expression that these potatoes were really good. We’d not heard of them before. We tried them baked and roasted and they were fabulous.

Apparently Yukon Gold were developed in Canada. They are a cross between a North American white potato and a wild South American yellow fleshed variety. They have a good flavour and apparently they are great for mashing and adding to soup and chowder.

I reckon that if you are going to grow potatoes, this is your chance to try some new varieties as well as growing enough to see you through the winter months. Yukon Gold and International Kidney are top of my list for this year.

So I’ve been sniffing around the Internet. Looking for bargains and inspiration. Thompson and Morgan have come up trumps again with many varieties of seed potato selling for just £2.99 for 20 tubers – it’s definitely worth checking out this link as they have loads of varieties on offer. Quite often 10 tubers are more expensive than 20, so scroll down the page!

What I usually do when ordering online is to fill my basket with my dream selection and revisit the basket the next morning for a final pairing down. As you know, we now have a 15 rod allotment so we’ll be growing plenty of spuds there. The major problem will be eelworm as we will be planting on former meadow land. That is why both Cara and Lady Christi are on my list – both are good varieties for evading the threat of eelworm and blight. Also on the eelworm front I will be wrapping each seed potato in newspaper as this seems to have done the trick over the past few years at home.

Over the years I have progressed on the potato growing front and generally get good results. If you’d like to get the best from your potato harvest see what I have learnt here – how to grow the best potatoes.

Meanwhile here is my order list for 2012:
Yukon Gold Second Early
International Kidney Second Early
Cara Maincrop
Lady Christi(l) First Early
Epicure First Early
Rooster Late Maincrop

  Leave a reply


  1. Adrian

    This year (2012) I have prepared two patches of soil for two russeted varieties, Innovator (also known in Australia as McCain 1s) and Russet Burbanks which I have selectively cultivated over many years to maximise the russet skin and oval shape, and a blue variety I developed myself from real potato seeds of Royal Blue potatoes (grown in Western Australia), all lovely roasting potatoes. I look forward to competing with the world’s best.

    • Lynn Ferguson

      Hi I have been searching for a Russet Burbank potato to grow for years if you are growing them would you be prepared to sell me one or two please??

  2. When in America Yukon gold are a good failsafe but not a patch on an English spud!

  3. Do any of you let ‘volunteers’ grow, that is spuds you missed harvesting that sprout in last year’s spot? They can be inconvenient, and flout rotation rules but I always hate to pull them up so leave them unless they are very poorly placed. They seem to crop ok, but is it a false economy?

  4. This will be my first year of growing potatoes here, and I don’t know yet what varieties are available, but back in London Anyas were my favourite. Boiled or steamed in their skins, they are so full of flavour, hot or cold, and they were always the heaviest cropping variety.

  5. Yukon Gold are lovely potatoes – I’m Canadian, they’re readily available there in the shops. They’re pretty good as a salad potato, too. If you can ever get your hands on Russet Burbank potatoes, they are fantastic for baking.

    This year we’ll be growing Anya, Rooster and a blue potato I forget the name of (just for the sheer fun of it, I know my nearly 3 year old and nearly 1 year old will enjoy them!) in potato grow bags. Thanks for the link to the Yukon Gold (tempting!) and if I can track down Russet Burbank seed potatoes, I’ll do them too.

    • Lynn Ferguson

      Hi Naomi, did you ever track down a Russet Burbank. If you have would you be willing to sell me a couple to grow myself. many thanks, Lynn

  6. I rate International Kidney too.I grew them last year as it is a name that makes my daughter laugh- which is as good a reason as any for trying out a potato variety for the first time.They were yummy.

  7. Tanya @ Lovely Greens

    I remember Yukon Golds being the #1 potato growing up in the states…it’s one of the easiest to find in the shops as well.

    And have you looked at Kings Seeds before for your potato seed? They do some good deals and have quite a few of the varieties you list above. They sell them about £6-7 for 2.5 kilos – I think that was about 50. We do an allotment seed order with them every year (via the NSALG) and the more bags you buy the cheaper they get…

  8. Magic Cochin

    I only grow good new & salad potatoes – I know I can pick up sacks of lovely organically grown fenland potatoes at a farm stall for Autumn and Winter.
    I have four varieties chitting..
    International Kidney (like you I really rate this)
    Ratte (superb French salad potato)
    Pink Fir Apple (late season waxy salad potato)
    Juliette (I always try something new each year and promises eel-worm and blight resistance and excellent flavour)

    You method of growing potatoes in pots and topping up with leaf mould worked so well last year I’ll be growing some that way again this season.

    Celia x
    PS hope you’re getting better from the flu bug.

  9. Gottaknit

    On the subject of Yukon Gold: we have been watching quite a lot of “America’s Test Kitchen” on PBS, just lately, and they regularly specify Yukon Gold as the best for the various recipes. What a happy thought – to be able to go out and buy them, rather than having to eke out the limited supply that he has grown!

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