About the project
Launched in 2005, Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) was one of the first primary school based growing projects. Since then, it has become the largest of its kind with over 2 million children taking part in learning where potatoes come from, how they grow and the health benefits. The straightforward and hands-on nature of the GYOP project makes it perfect for young pupils.
Schools that register to take part (in February) receive a FREE growing kit containing everything they need, to grow a successful crop.
Competition 1: Heaviest weight of Rocket Potatoes
Prize 1: Junior Octobrunch Picnic Bench
Competition 2: Heaviest weight of regional variety
Prize 2: 10 x £100.00 of National Gardening vouchers
Competition 3 & 4 The Sun.
Prize 3: Gardening vouchers
Once again for 2019, The Sun newspaper is offering additional prizes of gardening vouchers for the single heaviest and the greatest number of potatoes from one bag.
Tuesday 18 February 2020
Start chitting your seed potatoes on Tuesday 18 February 2020, this will take about two weeks.
Chitting will speed up the ageing process of your potatoes, by exposing them to light and, more importantly, a bit of warmth. This will cause the eyes of the seed potato to start sprouting and should result in a better crop.
Tuesday 3 March 2020
Planting day nationwide.
One comment we regularly receive from schools taking part, is that they would like more time for their potatoes to grow. This is difficult to do and still harvest before schools in Scotland finish for summer break. This year we have managed to extend the project by 1 week, making harvesting Tuesday 16 June - 15 weeks from planting. Hopefully this will give you time to grow a successful crop and enter the competition to win prizes for your school.
By now, you should have chitted your potatoes but don’t worry if not, you can still plant them, just be extra careful not to over water them before they have had a chance to get established.
Also, don't forget to label your grow-bags to help identify the variety growing. You could win a prize for your school by showing us how you labelled your bags.
Tuesday 3 March - Tuesday 16 June 2020
15 weeks from planting to harvesting.
To grow a successful crop of potatoes in your grow-bags, your potatoes will need: light, water, food, space and air.
Make sure you find the perfect spot to stand your bag, keep the soil moist but not wet and don't forget to top up your soil as the plant grows, to give the potatoes plenty of room.
Watch out for late frosts too, potato plants hate frost!
Tuesday 16 June 2020
Now is the exciting time when you find out if all of your hard work has paid off, just 15 weeks since planting.
If you remove the green tops from your plants, it makes them easy to pull out of the bag without damaging them, this means you can re-use the bags to grow something else.
Once out of the bags, the fun begins; roll up those sleeves and rummage through the soil to find your potatoes, just watch out for the mother tuber!!
Why not try to win the overall GYOP prize of a Junior Octobrunch for your school, by entering the weight of potatoes that you grew from the three Rocket seed potatoes?
There is also the opportunity for your school to win one of ten regional prizes of £100 worth of gardening vouchers by entering the weight of your second variety ( one per region – East Scotland, West Scotland, Wales, NE North England, NE South England, NW England, Central North England, Central South England SE England & SW England).
Plus, there are more prizes on offer from The Sun’s competition for the single heaviest single and largest number of potatoes from one bag (any variety).
Your kit this year will include:
- Instruction leaflet, including classroom poster with key dates
- 2 x nets of seed potatoes (national and regional)
- 2 x HADO grow-bags
- Chitting tray- you will find this built into the lid of your box
Using your chitting tray: Simply pull open the tray and remove the contents. Fold the tray back into place and support it with the small tab at the back of the box. Pop out the seven round disks in your tray and rest your seed potatoes on top making sure the chits are facing up. Remove the outer lid along the perforation.
Each year, the seed potatoes grown as part of the GYOP project are supplied free of charge by the potato industry and for this we are very grateful.
Every school taking part in GYOP receives two varieties: Rocket variety for the national competition and then a second variety, depending on region.
Not a primary school?
Due to changes in the GYOP project, we are unable to supply kits to bodies not teaching the KS1 and 2 curriculum, including home educators, childminders, brownies, scout packs and other similar organisations.
With your help, the children in your care could still learn all about potatoes by following the key dates and information.