First Early Potatoes Red Duke of York Victory Garden

Chitting and planting Red Duke of York First Earlies

OK so this is the first thing I’m growing in my Victory Garden – a reliable staple for the kitchen and one of the most versatile natural ingredients you can get. The humble potato.   The first early variety I’m growing is called the Red Duke of York – which as the name suggests is a red skinned potato.

The Red Duke of York is a heritage early potato variety bred in 1942 – so just before WW2. This potato is said to have a wonderful strong flavour and is good for pretty much every purpose.  It can be roasted, mashed, baked or used to make chips.  The Red Duke of York hides pale, yellowish flesh under it’s thick red skin.

I believe (but don’t quote me on it) that the Red Duke of York was bred from the Duke of York, and is said to be an improvement in terms cooking, vigour and flavour – but I’ll be the judge of that!

I managed to pick these up at B&Q and I had to admit, I thought what terrific luck that I’ve found such an historical tuber in the most unlikely of places. The Red Duke of York was grown extensively by amateur gardeners towards the end of World War II and during the very austere post war period.

As you can see from the images I’m trying my best to stick with the plan I’ve put together as much as possible. I first dug over the patch and marked out the area with a piece of string.  A technique I’ve adopted is to use my trowel to measure how far apart I plant the tubers, I then plant them about a trowel depth into the ground.

When they start poking through the ground I’ll be covering the tops with sifted soil from the compost heap.

Have you ever grown Red Duke of York? If so, let me know how you got on!

2 replies on “Chitting and planting Red Duke of York First Earlies”

Hello Adam,
I’ve just come across your website, which has some good info for amateur, home gardeners.
I started growing potatoes only last year, but had good success with some seed potatoes from Wilko (Sharpes Express) and also some potatoes bought from Waitrose, for eating, which had started to shoot (Red Duke of York and Belle De Fontenay).
As I only buy organic, I thought it worth seeing if these grew…..and they did, rather well.
So, I’ve put some Red Duke of York ‘shooters’ in this spring, which already have good growth showing. I’m hoping they do as well as last year.

Hello Louise! Thank you for the kind words and I’m glad you’re finding the info useful 🙂 Excuse the delay and responding to this comment – I’m glad that you’ve had some movement on your potatoes. How are they surviving the frost damage? I’ve done my best to mound them up, but I’ve got a bit of frost burning here and there on the tops, but hopefully I’m hoping this isn’t long term damage.

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