Help: Potatoes not growing!

Weirder and weirder: my first early potatoes haven’t grown. At all.

I put them in in March, just before that ghastly late cold snap. The maincrop ones (which I put in a month later) are just starting to show above ground. But of the first earlies, no sign.

I dug one up and it had a few spindly roots (and a few small slug holes), but no shoots. This is absolutely unprecedented. I’ve never had potatoes simply not grow.

Was it the frost? I’ve never known tubers underground to get frost damaged, but is it possible? Has anybody else every experienced this? Would love to hear from you if so. I’m baffled as to what’s going on.

What I really want to know is this: will they grow if I wait long enough? Or are they dead and ruined?

8 Responses to “Help: Potatoes not growing!”

  1. Rampant_Weasel Says:

    i think you can discount frost soilman as i still had volunteers coming up after the harsh winter of 2010.ive also had volunteers from peelings, and i dug up one volunteer that looked like a sieve it was so badly eaten and it was still growing.
    i would just wait its probably the cold.
    i planted mine on the 3rd april and they have only just broken through.if you dug one up and it had roots its obviously making the attempt to grow.
    hope this is reasuring!

  2. Soilman Says:

    Hi Weasel

    That’s my thinking too – if the volunteers can survive it (and hey, they always do), surely these ones should be able to grow?

    And yet here we are on May 5th and still not a peep.


  3. Rampant_Weasel Says:

    what variety are they?

  4. Soilman Says:


  5. Lee Says:

    We planted rocket (from Wilkos) 1st April, they just came through this weekend. I don’t dig super-deep trenches mind.

  6. Jeane Says:

    I only planted one potato in a container, this year (have a small balcony garden) and I was just thinking it was never going to come up. I was about to plant something else in its place when I thought to look, first. Dug in carefully and there was a little shoot coming up! So I covered it up again and still anticipate a handful of fresh potatoes. Maybe yours are just delayed, too?

  7. Soilman Says:

    You were absolutely right, Jeane: they’re finally emerging…. Very, very late.

  8. Ronnie Says:

    Hi Soilman,
    In Ireland we are quite fetishist (I know what I mean but is that a word? Maybe anal is a better description!) about getting our spuds in on Paddy’s Day – 17th March to you.

    In N Ireland, where I am, our tradition is plant on St Patrick’s Day and you are eating them on 12th July (Orangeman’s Day).
    So everyone at my plots was quite stressed when we knew there was absolutely no point in planting in Mid March when there was absolutely no heat whatsover in the soil in mid March. We knew we needed to wait for some heat. I eventually lost my nerve and planted on Tuesday 2 April. Red Duke of York and Wilja. Checked this evening, no sign of anything —– the ignominy — an Irishman who can’t grow potatoes! I see one shoot of maincrop Orla showing.
    But I remain confident — surely these spuds know they are in Ireland –surely they know they MUST grow. And they will — so will yours! Don’t be bullied by the calendar –nature knows best — and nature will deliver!