Best First Early Potatoes

It’s safe to say that there are more than a few different varieties of potatoes out there! They will all vary in terms of disease resistance, waxy flesh and waxy texture, and of course, taste! However, when you’re starting to look into the best potato plants to seed and pull up, it’s often hard to know what’s going to go well in your garden and ground.

In this review and guide, we’ll take a look at the top first potatoes for planting and harvesting. Whether you enjoy potato salad, roastes or the odd bit of bangers and mash, these earlies are well worth considering for various reasons. Who knows what tasty treats you might yield from your own ground and garden in the months to come?, 

What are the Best Tasting Potatoes?

That’s what we’re here to find out! The following potato picks offer Sunday dinner and salad choices you’ll love planting and harvesting – but of course, it’s the taste that matters the most! They will taste all the better, too, having come from your own garden!

In This Review

Best Tasty & Versatile Potato

potato-arran-pilot-with-parsley-garnish

Is there really a tuber out there quite as tasty or as versatile as the Arran Pilot? These new potatoes have fantastic disease resistance as far as scabbing is concerned, meaning you’re almost all but guaranteed to benefit from lovely yellow flesh that’s going to taste great in a salad.

This typical salad potato is a big favourite with many people, though it’s also going to appeal to many who are looking for a potato with strong blight resistance and which is going to do well to serve as a new potato.

It’s one of few varieties with a lovely waxy texture which is going to be hardy in the soil, and delicious on the plate.

Growing Info

When to Plant: Late February
When to Harvest: June at latest
Where to Grow This Variety: Soil or Bag

Pros

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Cons

Easiest to Grow

Lady-Christl​-potatoes

The Lady Christl potato variety is another lovely tuber which is very easy to grow and delicious when cooked well. It has a fantastic firmness to it which you won’t always expect from second early potato picks! Second earlier aside, this is an icon of the first early range, meaning that if you’re going to plant and harvest any spuds in the early part of the year, these should be amongst the very tastiest.

Boasting a lovely yellow skin colour, this UK potato favourite is creamy, bulks up well, and even retains resistance during cooking, If you’d prefer to plant and harvest with your second earlies, that’s fine, too!

Growing Info

When to Plant: Late February
When to Harvest: June at latest
Where to Grow This Variety: Almost anywhere – soil or bags are great

Pros

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Cons

Best 'All-Rounder'

rocket-potatoes

These bulky and delicious salad potatoes work well in all kinds of meals and dishes, and tend to be a good container or planter grower. They are fairly similar to Swift potatoes in this respect, though you may find that a Rocket potato is going to show a bit more in the way of resistance and flavour retention. It’s sure to be a real spud icon of your garden!

These bulk up very quickly and tend to be really good all-rounders. Look out for slug damage, but you shouldn’t have too much to worry about when it comes to resistance on the whole.

Growing Info

When to Plant: Late February
When to Harvest: June at latest
Where to Grow This Variety: Planters and bags work well

Pros

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Cons

Fast Growing

swift-potatoes-on-dark-soil

Swift by name, swift by nature! This is a wonderful potato variety which will grow really quickly in the right conditions. If you are looking for a huge crop of roast potatoes or new potato flavour sooner rather than later, the Swift is likely to be a great choice for you.

These potatoes tend to grow best in tighter areas, meaning it’s a variety which will likely appeal to those of us with limited garden space. It brings up thick tubers as well as a classic potato flavour, and it’s super resistant against potato blight such as eelworm.

Growing Info

When to Plant: Late February
When to Harvest: June at latest
Where to Grow This Variety: Planters and bags work best

Pros

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Cons

Great Pick 'n' Mix

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This great gardening bundle offers you a mix of flavours and potato varieties to really help you get your garden up and running at the start of the year. These are great value and will be easy for even novice gardeners to get into. What’s more, whether you are looking for potatoes for salads or for mash or roasting, you’re bound to find a great option or two here.

You have a pick of Cara, Kesterl, Maris bard, Lady Christl, Valor and King Edward potato varieties, meaning that these are all tasty potatoes you can start planting at the head of the year for harvesting before the summer. In fact, some will even offer blight resistance and growing prowess well into the summer and even late autumn, too!

Growing Info

When to Plant:
Potato ‘Maris Bard’ (
First Early) From the end of February
Potato ‘Kestrel’ (
Second earlyFrom March
Potato ‘Cara’, ‘Valor’ & ‘King Edward’ (Late maincrop)From March 
When to Harvest: Summer to late Autumn
Where to Grow This Variety: In the ground and/ or bags

Pros

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Cons

What are First Early Potatoes?

First potatoes tend to be those potato varieties which work best for planting at the start of the year – hence the name! Of course, there’s also a theory that these potatoes tend to taste better than second early picks, but that remains to be seen! There are plenty of potatoes of this variety, too, which have amazingly resistant skin – the skin on your potatoes is going to need to resist critter attacks, blight and more. Flavour is important, too – of course!

There are lots of different salad potato varieties that you can plant and pull up in the early months, though if you’re more fond of the odd roast potato and a knob or two of butter, there’s lots of choice available in first earlies, too.

These potato varieties tend to be new potatoes, on the whole, and are often smaller than most – which is what makes them some of the best salad potatoes on the whole. You may find some second early tubers and potatoes are a little bigger and offer a different variety, but do make sure to experiment with your first early potato picks for skin, flavour and colour first!

When Should I Plant First Early Potatoes?

Potato plants you’ll want to get in early should plant up from at least February. However, take into account that you have until late spring – until May. This window is larger than what you’d expect from your cropping of second early varieties.

Make sure you give your potato crops around 10 weeks, or two and a half months, before you start harvesting. You can normally grow these potato varieties in the ground directly, or, if you prefer, you can choose to grow them in bags.

Conclusion

Even if you don’t know your Jersey Royal, Belle de Fontenay, Maris Peer of other maincrop varieties from your average heritage potato, there’s no reason why you can’t get started with some lovely first early crops. If you’re new to learning how to seed potatoes for the best flavour, or are looking for the best advice on how to yield tasty taters for the months to come, there are more than a few great forum resources out there which will help you to yield some tasty spuds.

Spud growing is not a competition! Grab yourself some compost, some egg boxes and some salad potatoes to see which varieties of potatoes really appeal to your palate the most. If you can sample spuds before you seed potatoes, it will be all the more worthwhile for your eventual yield!

Whether you fancy a yield of Red Duke of York potatoes or those potatoes which grow well into the latter half of the year, first early crops come in a variety of flavours and looks which are worth starting out with. Check out our links to the best first potatoes available for you to grow right now – and find potatoes with firm skin, potatoes which are resistant to bug attacks, and UK potatoes which will taste delicious in any Sunday meal or occasional salad.

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