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GARDENING NEWS

 

Arran pilot is one of the most popular first early potato varieties amongst amateur gardeners and this has been the situation for 30 years or so.

There is no doubt that this variety has a very short shelf life, ten days at the most. But when eaten within a couple of days after they are dug up the flavour is supreme, quite delicious. That is the best way to cultivate this variety so only grow as many as you can eat almost immediately they are harvested. Lots is published about the taste of Jersey Royals but Arran Pilot can on many soils equals or surpasses that flavour.

PARENTAGE


The parents of Arran Pilot are May Queen x Pepo



APPEARANCE, TASTE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF ARRAN PILOT

Arran Pilot potato

The Arran Pilot Potato

Not the best looking of potatoes, Arran Pilot has never been a commercial success. But amongst amateur gardeners looking for a tasty first early variety it has been a top choice for many, many years. Taste is delicious when harvested and served immediately.

POSITIVE POINTS FOR ARRAN PILOT
Taste is excellent. Good resistance to scab.

NEGATIVE POINTS FOR ARRAN PILOT
Generally poor disease resistance but grows quickly so often this is not a problem.

BUYING ARRAN PILOT SEED POTATOES IN THE UK


Arran Pilot is a common variety of potato which is readily available online and sometimes in garden centres.

We recommend buying your seed potatoes from certified suppliers because those sold in supermarkets for consumption can be a source of disease and pest. We would avoid buying them from online general retailers such as as Amazon or E-bay unless you know exactly who is supplying the seed potatoes.

Buying seed potatoes from the discount store can be a good deal but it can also result in a sub-standard crop. The discount stores take the second quality seed potatoes whereas the more specialist suppliers take the best quality. Unfortunately you will only find this out after you have carefully tended your crop for several months.

Crocus (a GardenFocused approved supplier) sell Arran Pilot seed potatoes (and many other varieties) which are not only correctly certified but they are graded by size to avoid unduly small seed potatoes being sold. Click here for more information and to buy Arran Pilot online. A 2kg bag will contain about 22 good sized seed potatoes.

ALTERNATIVES TO ARRAN PILOT POTATOES


The key qualities of this variety are flavour and early maturity. On that basis the Swift potato must be a good alternative as is International Kidney. Neither quite equal the taste but they come near to it and both have a longer "shelf" life.

For other potato varieties which we have fully reviewed, click the drop down box below, select a variety and then click the More Information Button.

The planting and harvest dates used below are correct for the UK average. If you want them to be even more accurate and adjusted for your area of the UK click here. It only takes a minute and the adjustment affects every date in this site and lasts for six months.

WHEN TO CHIT / SPROUT ARRAN PILOT POTATOES


We recommend that you start chitting / sprouting Arran Pilot potatoes in the third week of February. This will give them four to five weeks to develop healthy sprouts just at the time when they are ready to be planted out. Keep the potatoes in cool but light conditions to ensure they grow short, green sprouts. Click here for our page dedicated to chitting / sprouting potatoes in the UK and Ireland.


WHEN TO PLANT ARRAN PILOT POTATOES


Arran Pilot potatoes are first early potatoes and they are ready for harvest, if conditions are correct, 14 weeks after the seed potatoes are planted. The key factor governing the time for planting all potatoes is the date of the last frost in your area. Even a touch of frost can damage potato plants if their foliage is above ground, an unexpected severe frost can kill them completely.

The date for planting Arran Pilot potato seed can be calculated on the basis that seed potatoes will take four weeks before they appear above ground. Given also that you want them to appear above ground only when the danger of frost has passed (the last week of April is the UK average) the last week of March is about right time to plant them.

WHEN TO HARVEST ARRAN PILOT POTATOES


The harvest date for all potatoes is not only dependent on when you plant your seed potatoes, it also depends on the weather conditions throughout the growing season. But on average you can expect your potatoes to be ready for harvest some time between the second and last weeks of July 2017 in your area of the UK.
 

PEST AND DISEASE RESISTANCE OF ARRAN PILOT POTATO


The table below sets out how good or bad Arran Pilot potato plants are at resisting common pests and diseases in the UK. The 0 point is average with minus (red) values showing lower than average resistance and plus values (green) showing higher than average resistance.

Note that although resistance to late blight is low, if the Arran Pilot potatoes are harvested as earlies then they are unlikely to be affected. In effect therefore, even though this variety is susceptible to late blight, it is unlikely to be badly affected by this problem.

  -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5
Late blight - foliage
 
                     
Late blight - tubers
 
                     
Common scab
 
                     
Powdery scab
 
                     
Slugs
 
                     
Potato Cyst Nematode
(pallida)
                     
Potato Cyst Nematode
(rostochiensis)
                     
Blackleg
 
                     
Splitting
 
                     
  -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5

 

 

SUMMARY CHARACTERISTICS OF ARRAN PILOT



USE
: Boiling and general salad use

TYPE: First early

SKIN COLOUR / TEXTURE: Very light brown, thin, smooth with shallow eyes

FLESH COLOUR: Cream to yellow

TASTE AND TEXTURE: Top taste

STORAGE: Ten days but best if eaten fresh from the ground

POTATO SIZE: Medium sized

REGULARITY OF CROPPING: Regularly produces a good yield

AWARDS: None

SPECIAL FEATURES: None