We have grown Cara potatoes in two years and found them to be slightly watery potatoes which easily fall to bits when boiled. Taste is also lacking, bland is the best way to describe this variety. Its saving grace is that it has good disease resistance especially to blight. That’s our personal opinion.Looking at other reviews it would seem that many disagree until we realised that the reviews were all using the same phrases repeated over and over again! We think that’s a bit suspicious and wonder how many of those reviewers have actually grown and cooked this variety?
The parents of Cara are Ulster Glade x A25/19, neither are well known varieties.
APPEARANCE, TASTE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF CARA POTATO
Cara was first introduced in Ireland which may well explain its excellent resistance to blight. It is slightly later to mature compared to many other maincrop varieties. The plants grow quite tall making them unsuitable for exposed and windy conditions. It’s an attractive looking potato with pink colouring around the eyes.
POSITIVE POINTS FOR CARA
Good disease resistance to blight, drought, slugs and common scab. The yield is on the high side and the potatoes all bulk up to a reasonable size.
NEGATIVE POINTS FOR CARA
Lack of taste, not the best texture and they can all to bits very easily when boiled.
BUYING CARA SEED POTATOES IN THE UK
Cara seed potatoes are widely available online, from garden centres / diy stores. They are also sold by some of the discount supermarkets at low prices – most years they appear in Lidl, Aldi, Wilkinsons and even Poundland from the middle of February.
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 supplier we highly recommend, sell Cara seed potatoes (and many more varieties)each one graded by size. Click here for more information and to buy Cara seed potatoes online. A 2kg bag will contain about 22 good sized seed potatoes.
ALTERNATIVES TO CARA POTATOES
The key qualities of this variety are reasonably good crops and good disease resistance, especially to blight. Another maincrop variety which possesses these qualities is Setanta which has the
advantage of better texture when boiled, good taste and even better pest and disease resistance.
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 CARA POTATOES
In all the tests we have conducted and those we have researched, there is no detectable difference between maincrop potatoes which are chitted and those which are planted directly in the ground. However if you want to stick with tradition and chit your Cara potatoes, we recommend that you start chitting / sprouting this variety 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 CARA POTATOES
Cara potatoes are late maincrop potatoes and they are ready for harvest, if conditions are correct, 20 to 22 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 Cara 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 CARA 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 first and third weeks of August 2017 in your area of the UK.
PEST AND DISEASE RESISTANCE OF CARA POTATO
The table below sets out how good or bad Cara 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
AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW OF CARA POTATOES
The following comment was received from Robert C on 3rd September 2019. It raises some interesting points. I would like to comment on some of the things said on the Cara potato. First of all I am an Irish man who has been growing potatoes in my various gardens for 50 yrs. My all time favourite potatoes are British Queens and King Edwards, great flavour but need to be watched when cooking as they can fall apart. I have read the assessment of the Cara potato and while I agree that the flavour is a little lacking they behave the same as British Queens when cooking and as all my family (including grand children) agree they make really excellent chips.
My point is this….Climate change is very obvious now and I have now retired to Germany where we are now getting sustained 3 month spells of 37°C – 40°C without rain. Baking hot and this year only 3 thundery showers in that period. My British Queens (2 years ago) wilted under the stress and my grandkids could have used them for playing marbles. The Cara crop that I have planted this year has stood up well to the heat and drought and an exploratory digging of a few of the plants showed good size tubers and quiet a lot of them. They have been held back a little with the conditions so this main crop will be ready a few weeks later than normal.
I really wouldn`t run this variety down as it has a lot of qualities that could save our food supply from disaster, if this warming trend continues we will need this variety and those like it to sustain a good supply of spuds. I am quiet happy I have grown this potato this year and from family reports they all liked them, and believe me they would have said if they didn`t.. So…an open mind on Cara please.
SUMMARY CHARACTERISTICS OF CARA
USE: Roasts and wedges
SKIN COLOUR / TEXTURE: Mid brown with pink areas around the eyes
FLESH COLOUR: Cream
TASTE AND TEXTURE: Floury and waxy, very little taste
STORAGE: Stores well
POTATO SIZE: Average and consistent in size
REGULARITY OF CROPPING: Regularly produces a good yield
SPECIAL FEATURES: Good blight resistance