A potato is born:
Growing a good potato crop is not simply a matter of planting a table potato from a bag bought
at a supermarket, or a left-over from the previous year’s crop. These are not certified seed
Certified seed potatoes are purpose-grown to maximise the likelihood of healthy, high-yielding
crops and minimise the opportunity for disease.
There are more than a hundred diseases which attack potatoes.
An uncertified potato may have been infected with viruses spread from plant to plant by
aphids, or the potato taken from a table bag may have been sprayed by a sprout inhibitor to stop it from
Both these factors increase the risk of getting no crop or at the very least of reducing the
Unhealthy potatoes can spread diseases in the soil which affect other crops. Such effects
would not be noticed until the following season when the garden produces less healthy vegetables.
Seed potatoes are grown from healthy tissue of previous crops to ensure they are true to their
variety (also called cultivar).
Some varieties are better suited to certain uses than others, for example Cliff Kidney and
Liseta are good for boiling as a new potato (especially for Xmas Dinner ) Karaka and Allura are good for
roasting ,boiling , mashing and wedges. Desiree and Rua (Old favourites) are still good for all
It is not always possible to tell the variety of a potato by looking at it.
All bags of certified seed potatoes
are clearly labelled.
The seed potato crop is tested for diseases at every step including field
Farmer’s crops must pass two assessments before they are allowed to be harvested for sale as
Certified seed potatoes also tend to
produce cleaner, more attractive and uniformly sized potatoes which are likely to store well.
It is a good idea to buy fresh seed potatoes each season because older seed potatoes might
produce plants with numerous stems that sprout quickly but die early resulting in smaller
It is best to plant potatoes in a new place each year to further reduce the risk of disease
To download a printable copy, click here.