All potato types are planted in the spring. The difference is that early varieties are more tolerant of colder weather, mature faster, and require a little less space between plants. Main crop potatoes are planted are little later, take longer to mature, but typically produce bigger potatoes.
- First Earlies
From sowing to harvesting this is can be as little as ten weeks. They can be planted in trenches about 30cm or 12″ apart, and with 50cm between the rows. They are harvested when the plants are about to flower. Start by digging up one plant and, if the potatoes are of sufficient size, you know they are ready.
- Second Earlies
Second earlies take significantly longer to grow – around 16 -18 weeks – and are larger is size than first earlies. Allow a little more space between the tubers and rows than first earlies, and wait for the plants to flower and wilt, or yellow a little, before digging up.
- Main Crop
Recommended spacing is around 40cm or 15″ apart and rows around 75cm apart. Time to harvest is about 20 weeks. Main crop potatoes are the type to choose if you intend to store for winter use.
- Salad Potatoes
These are varieties grown for culinary use in salads. The potatoes are typically smaller than other types, and do not disintegrate or flake away during boiling. This property for retaining their shape makes them ideal for serving as boiled potatoes or served cold in salads (and less good for mash and roast potatoes).
In addition, potatoes are sometimes described as being floury or waxy.
- Floury Potatoes
Floury potatoes have a tendency to fall apart when boiling. This property is ideal for mashed potatoes, and for absorbing fat and crisping up when making chips or roast potatoes.
- Waxy Potatoes
Waxy potatoes hold their shape better than floury potatoes. Waxy potatoes make great boiled potatoes or salad potatoes, but they do not mash well.