Maincrop potatoes are generally the largest you can grow, needing 15-20 weeks to reach full size. By the end, you’ll be rewarded with large potatoes that store well and are ideal for mashing, roasting and baking.
One benefit of growing your own potatoes is that you can choose varieties that aren’t available in the shops, with a wide range of textures and flavours.
If space is limited you could plant maincrops in large pots or bags, although the tubers will have more room to develop in the ground. To get a good harvest, grow potatoes in a sunny, sheltered spot, ideally in slightly acidic soil. Improve the soil before planting with some well-rotted manure, and feed while in growth.
Discover some of the best maincrop potatoes to grow, below.
‘Desiree’ is a drought-resistant variety with attractive red skins. The waxy skins don’t get especially crispy if roasted, so this variety is recommended for mashing, baking or dauphinoise.
Red-skinned potato ‘Desiree’
‘Valor’ is a versatile variety producing potatoes that are great for mashing, baking, frying and roasting. It also shows good resistance to pests, diseases and drought.
White potato ‘Valor’
‘Maris Piper’ is easily one of the best known varieties of potato, and for good reason. It has white, fluffy flesh and is great for baking, mashing and roasting.
White potato ‘Maris Piper’
‘Cara’ is a strong variety rarely troubled by disease, producing heavy crops of smooth skinned tubers. The potatoes have a sweet flavour with a hint of parsnip and are good for baking and mashing.
Red and white skinned potato ‘Cara’
Though often grown as a first early, ‘Orla’ can be left to bulk up as a maincrop. It shows good resistance to blight and other diseases, and is drought-resistant, too. Great for baking and roasting.
White potato ‘Orla’
‘Carolus’ is a heavy cropping variety with a slightly floury texture and full flavour. It also has good blight resistance. Use these spuds to make baked or roast potatoes.
Pink and white skinned potato ‘Carolus’
‘Ratte’ is a popular French variety, with waxy skins and a lovely nutty flavour. This variety is good in salads, boiled or mashed.
Small, elongate ‘Ratte’ potatoes
This pink-skinned variety was bred for its blight resistance. ‘Sarpo Mira’ yields large potatoes that store well and have a floury texture – good for mashing.
Pink-skinned ‘Sarpo Mira’ potatoes
‘King Edward’ was voted the best potato variety for roasting in a Gardeners’ World Magazine trial, for its creamy, fluffy flesh and crunchy skin.
Pink and white ‘King Edward’ potatoes
Harvesting maincrop potatoes
Wait for the foliage of your maincrop potatoes to turn yellow and die down before you harvest them. Choose a dry day to fork them up, then cut off the foliage and discard any damaged or diseased tubers.