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GARDENING NEWS

 

Swift potatoes are best known for their ability to produce the earliest crop of all potatoes. Some claim they can do this in 7 weeks but 10 weeks is probably more realistic.

They make excellent new potatoes for boiling and salads and are a good all round cooking variety for everything except mash. Often overlooked is their good pest and disease resistance.

Their final plus point is that they keep well in the ground, turning more floury as time goes on. We recommend them highly.


PARENTAGE


The parents of Swift are both unknown to most of us, they are 90-83 and Stroma.

APPEARANCE, TASTE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF SWIFT

Swift potatoes
Swift Potato Variety

The potatoes are oval shaped with thin light brown skins. They have only a few eyes which are shallow, making peeling (often not necessary) an easy job. The texture is waxy and the colour of the flesh is light yellow.

The taste is good when harvested as earlies for boiling and salad potatoes. They also do an excellent job at roasting, chips and wedges.

Swift produce almost no berries and the flowers, if there are any at all, are very small. The plants are short, even at their largest, which makes them better than most at withstanding strong winds. They are an excellent choice for container growing or under cloches for an even earlier crop.

POSITIVE POINTS FOR SWIFT
The earliest of all with good disease resistance.

NEGATIVE POINTS FOR SWIFT
None.

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.

BUYING SWIFT SEED POTATOES IN THE UK


Swift seed potatoes are very popular and are 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.

We also recommend buying your seed potatoes from specialist suppliers rather than the discount stores for two reasons. First, the discount stores tend to sell second quality seed potatoes because they pay less for them. The specialist companies take the first pick and inevitably end up with higher quality seed potatoes.

Crocus (a GardenFocused approved supplier) sell Swift 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 Swift online. A 2kg bag will contain about 22 good sized seed potatoes.

ALTERNATIVES TO SWIFT POTATOES


The key qualities of this variety are good disease resistance and early maturity. On that basis Arran Pilot will do the job and has many believe it has even better taste and cooking qualities

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.



WHEN TO CHIT / SPROUT SWIFT POTATOES


We recommend that you start chitting / sprouting Swift 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 SWIFT POTATOES


Swift potatoes are the earliest of the first early potatoes and they are ready for harvest, if conditions are correct, 10 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 Swift 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 SWIFT 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 SWIFT POTATO


The table below sets out how good or bad Swift 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.

Because Swift are so quick to mature they are unlikely to be affected by pests and diseases. Often the speed at which they grow is mentioned as their prime quality but actually, pest and disease resistance is another quality that the average grower will appreciate. We highly recommend them for amateur and experienced gardeners.

  -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

SWIFT

USE
: Boiling and general salad use, roasting, chips and wedges

TYPE: First early

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

FLESH COLOUR: Cream to yellow

TASTE AND TEXTURE: Good taste, waxy texture

STORAGE: Ten days indoors (three weeks if left in the ground).

POTATO SIZE: Medium sized

REGULARITY OF CROPPING: Regularly produces a good yield

AWARDS: None

SPECIAL FEATURES: The earliest of all the potato varieties.