ADJUST DATES
IN THIS WEBSITE

YOUR VEG CALENDAR

FRUIT
Apples, Blackberries
Blackcurrants
Cherry, Gooseberry
Medlar Trees,
Mulberry Charlotte Russe
Pears, Plums, Quince
Raspberries
Red Currants
Strawberries
 
VEGETABLES
Asparagus
Beetroot, Broad Bean
Broccoli Purple Sprouting
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage (spring and summer)
Cauliflower
Carrots, Courgettes
Cucumber Ridge
French Beans
Kale, Kohlrabi
Leek, Lettuce
Mustard
Planting onion sets
Onions from seed
Parsnips,
Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkins
Radish, Rhubarb
Runner Beans,
Shallots, Spinach
Squash, Swede , Sweetcorn
Sweet Peppers,
Sweet Potatoes,
Swiss Chard, Tomatoes

HERBS
Basil, Bay Trees
Garlic, Marjoram
Mint, Parsley
Rosemary, Sage

RAISED BEDS
Raised Bed Veg
Build Raised Bed
Picture Gallery
Compare Raised Beds
Raised Bed Calendar

TECHNIQUES
Planting in Containers
Crop Rotation
Fruit Cages
Insect Mesh Netting
Jargon Buster
Polytunnels
Sheds
Tillers / Rotovators
Water Butts
Horticultural Shows UK

TREES AND SHRUBS
All Shrub Reviews
 
Shrub Finder - select shrubs for different conditions

PLANTS
All Plant Reviews (10+)

GARDENING NEWS

 

Kestrel is certainly one of the few varieties we grow every year. There are several reasons for this and resistance to slug damage is a key one of them. Taste is very high on the list as well alongside consistently large potatoes.

This variety was bred by Dr. Jack Dunnett MBE who is probably the foremost potato breeder during the last 50 years. He was awarded the British Potato Industry Award in 2013 and Kestrel is definitely one of his crowning achievements, at least as far as the amateur gardener in the UK is concerned.

PARENTAGE


The parents of Kestrel are Solanum vernei x Cara.



APPEARANCE, TASTE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF KESTREL

Kestrel potato

The Kestrel Potato

The picture above shows just how good this variety of potato looks, bursting with flavour and regularly sized potatoes. Potatoes don't grow well in dry and /or sandy conditions but Kestrel makes the best of it. Not only that it does exceptionally well in heavy soils making it one of the easiest varieties to grow. The plants grow to a medium height so they can withstand windy conditions well. It has no significant weaknesses as far as pest and diseases go and shows some resistance to blight

POSITIVE POINTS FOR KESTREL
One of the few varieties that shows significant resistance to slugs. Superb taste and produces a good crop with great regularity. A great all rounder as far as cooking is concerned.

NEGATIVE POINTS FOR KESTREL
None, we thoroughly recommend this variety.

BUYING KESTREL SEED POTATOES IN THE UK


Kestrel 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.

Suttons Seeds (a GardenFocused approved supplier) sell Kestrel seed potatoes 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 this variety online. A 1kg bag will contain about 11 good sized seed potatoes.

ALTERNATIVES TO KESTREL POTATOES


Finding a comparable alternative to Kestrel is difficult because overall we believe this is one of the best all round potatoes for the amateur gardener. Maybe Nicola is a worthy alternative as is Wilja.

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 KESTREL POTATOES


We recommend that you start chitting / sprouting Kestrel 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 KESTREL POTATOES


Kestrel potatoes are second earlies potatoes and they are ready for harvest, if conditions are correct, 15 to 17 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 Kestrel 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 KESTREL 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 in your area of the UK.
 

COOKING KESTREL POTATOES


Kestrel potatoes are one of the most versatile of all the second earlies and rate highly even when compared with cooking methods normally the preserve of maincrop potatoes. As might be expected of a second early, Kestrel does not perform particularly well when used as a salad potato.

BOILING
Kestrel boils very well and is full of flavour. The eyes are shallow so peeling is an easy task, the skin is reasonably thin so peeling is not absolutely necessary. One key factor with all garden potatoes for boiling is to let the skin harden slightly and loose some of the moisture content

To help in this, harvest the potatoes a few days before they are need for boiling. If possible let them lay in the sun on a dry surface but storing them inside is nearly as good. If you boil them in their skins the attractive purple blush of the skin remains. Drizzle with a little olive oil after cooking and then sprinkle with chopped parsley for an exquisite looking and tasting potato.

MASHING
Kestrel is one of the top three varieties for mashed potatoes. Smooth and full of flavour.

BAKING
Not as big as some of the maincrop potatoes but Kestrel bakes very well. Just remember to bake it for a little less time compared to larger potatoes. Some of the purple flush to the skin will remain making it a very attractive baked potato.

CHIPS, ROASTING AND SAUTE
As with mash, Kestrel is one of the very best for these cooking method, in our opinion the best of them all chips. They maintain their shape well, crisp up well on the outside but are floury and light on the inside.

PEST AND DISEASE RESISTANCE OF KESTREL POTATO


The table below sets out how good or bad Kestrel 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.
 
  -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 KESTREL



TYPE:
Second early

USE
: Excellent all rounder for boiling, mash, roast, chips and sautéing.

SKIN COLOUR / TEXTURE: Very light brown, thin, marked with purple around the shallow eyes

FLESH COLOUR: Cream to yellow

TASTE AND TEXTURE: Top taste

STORAGE: A couple of weeks

POTATO SIZE: Medium, very regular size and shape

REGULARITY OF CROPPING: Regularly produces a good yield

AWARDS: None

SPECIAL FEATURES: Overall one of, possibly the best potatoes for the amateur gardener