This year I have thrown caution to the wind and bought seed potatoes at the beginning of February. (Our local potato day is not until the end of February). The reason for this early start is that in recent years all the varieties I have been keenest on have been sold out or didn't feature in the potato day. The varieties I am after:
Epicure: Strictly for the home gardener as the vegetable retailer shun them due to their shape (small irregular with deep eyes) and are unfashionably floury for a new potato. But early these are. They a reputedly the best variety for withstanding cold and even shrugging off a frosting. I found these in Edinburgh garden centres but they are in short supply and the first to be sold out. Home growers comeback to this variety year after year.
Ballydoon: We got some of the BOG's (Borders Organic Growers) potato day about 15 years ago and loved them. It's another floury early. Said to be an Ayreshire potato dating back to the 1930s and popular in Ireland as the best potato to make champ with. We saved our own seed but accidentally ate the last of them a good decade ago. I have never found a supplier since - until this year when a sufficiently early internet search and a willingness to pay postage and packing on top saw 20 seed potatoes arrive in the post. I'm looking forward to reaquainting myself with this variety.
Rooster: Come with the Albert Bartlett branding (is there copyright in potato genes?) They don't need any advertising from me, but I got the last bag at the third garden centre I visited. These are also high in dry matter and grow to the size you can use for baking. Red skinned they somehow seem to avoid damage from pests. How I do not know. I've grown them every year since experimenting with them.
Winston - I remembered these from someone else's blog (thanks Sue & Martyn) and bought them on impulse. They should be interesting to compare with Rooster as they are white wet and reputedly suffer from soil pests. We shall see.!
Above all my early start has meant I am growing the varieties I want to grow this year!