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Rocket potatoes were first sold in the UK in 1987 and gained a reputation for being the earliest of all varieties. Whilst other varieties have now been bred to do the same or better, Rocket is undeniably one of the earliest to crop.
Unfortunately, speed of growth has resulted in a rather bland tasting potato. They can be perked up flavour-wise by adding slightly more salt than normal, a knob of butter and preferably a good sprinkling with fresh mint. But there's no getting away from it, if you want a tasty spud, look elsewhere.
The parents of Rocket are test varieties (F12/17 x D42/8). The breeders rights expire in 2017.
APPEARANCE, TASTE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF ROCKET
The Rocket Potato
Every garden or allotment has its own specific conditions which results in potatoes of different taste. But it does appear that in most conditions Rocket produces a bland tasting spud. And if left in the ground more than 13 weeks or so it starts to deteriorate - this is not a first early which can be stored.
The potatoes undeniably look good and they have the typical waxy texture of a new potato.
POSITIVE POINTS FOR ROCKET
Early maturing, good looking, evenly sized potatoes
NEGATIVE POINTS FOR ROCKET
Bland taste, very prone to tuber blight
BUYING ROCKET SEED POTATOES IN THE UK
Rocket is a common variety of potato and is widely available online, from garden centres and diy stores. A couple of our recommended suppliers include Suttons and Crocus.
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 conventional suppliers take the best quality. Unfortunately you will only find this out after you have carefully tended your crop for several months.
Finding alternatives to Rocket potatoes is not difficult. The main attribute to look for is a variety which produces good sized potatoes early in the year. Top of the list is the variety Swift, it produces potatoes just as quick but they taste far better and they will keep in the ground if you can't harvest them all at the same time.
We would also suggest Arran Pilot which is not quite as early but produces an excellent potato.
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 ROCKET POTATOES
We recommend that you start chitting / sprouting Rocket 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 ROCKET POTATOES
Rocket potatoes are a first early variety and they are ready for harvest, if conditions are correct, 10 to 11 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 Rocket seed potatoes 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 ROCKET 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 June in your area of the UK.
PEST AND DISEASE RESISTANCE OF ROCKET POTATO
The table below sets out how good or bad Rocket 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.
|Late blight - foliage
|Late blight - tubers
|Potato Cyst Nematode
|Potato Cyst Nematode
SUMMARY CHARACTERISTICS OF ROCKET
TYPE: First early
USE: Boiling and general salad use
SKIN COLOUR / TEXTURE: Very light brown, thin, smooth with shallow eyes
FLESH COLOUR: White
TASTE AND TEXTURE: Lacks taste, waxy texture
STORAGE: A couple of weeks, don't leave them in the ground to bulk up
POTATO SIZE: Average to large, good for vegetable shows
REGULARITY OF CROPPING: Regularly produces a good yield
SPECIAL FEATURES: None