Self-seeding potato sales unaffected by bad weather

Garden centre consultant Roger Crookes says the wet summer and cold winter do not seem to have dampened enthusiasm for selling seed potatoes - with some garden centres now offering more than 70 varieties.

Crookes is asking whether or not any garden centre can beat 72 varieties in stock. He said: "That's what I found when I called into Trefhedyn Garden Centre in Newcastle Emlyn, west Wales, recently. Their total floor space was extremely limited, yet somehow they had created 'Potato heaven' with a real buzz around all their closely packed sacks of seed."

Crookes's tips for selling seed potatoes include:

- "Show your customers how to grow potatoes in a pot. Use a 'here's one I made earlier' display. This builds customer confidence and opens up opportunities for linked sales."

- "Linked products such as pots, compost, fertiliser, books and frost protection all need positive promotion and explanation alongside your seed potatoes."

- "Hold a potato festival - bring out the bunting, organise a potato-themed quiz or treasure hunt, a potato tasting and demonstrations."

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