Available in Shop Only (Non Members price may vary) First early Bred by William Sim of Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, "Dukes" quickly established themselves worldwide with a reputation for quality which survives to this day. The tubers are pale yellow, smooth and attractive. They are waxy, boiling, almost salad, potatoes at the start of their season but they quickly mature, dry matter increases and they become very versatile. Despite moans from the 'waxy' brigade about them disintegrating, they are a flavour reference as far as I am concerned.
Duke of York (First Early - Price per lb)
Plant first early potato crops from the end of February. Prior to planting, 'chit' the seed potatoes by setting them out in a cool, bright position (10C/ 50F) to allow them to sprout.
When growing first early potatoes in the ground avoid planting in soil where potatoes have grown for two years in succession to reduce the risk of disease. Prepare the planting area in a sheltered position in full sun on moist well drained soil. Dig in plenty of well rotted manure. Plant potatoes in rows at a spacing of 30cm (12"). Rows should be set out 60cm (2') apart. Place the seed potatoes into 10cm (4") deep trenches and backfill the soil to refill the trenches. When shoots reach 20cm (8"), mound up soil around the shoots leaving just a few cm showing. Repeat this process after a further 3 weeks.
Where space is limited, try growing potatoes in potato bags on the patio. Fill an 8 litre potato bag to just below the top of the bag with good quality compost mixed with some well rotted manure. Carefully plunge a single chitted potato tuber into the compost with the shoots pointing upwards at a depth of 12cm (5") from the soil surface. Place the bags in a sunny position and water regularly to keep the compost moist.
Weed between rows and keep potato plants well watered throughout the growing season. If the risk of frost threatens, draw some soil up around the stems to protect them, or move potato bags to a frost free position in a shed or greenhouse. First early crops can be harvested approximately 10 weeks from planting when the foliage begins to turn yellow and die back