Eating your own home grown new potatoes is a luxury at any time. And your own Christmas potatoes are a real treat. With a little preparation you can grow your own early potatoes for Christmas in the smallest garden or even on a patio.
Preparing the Seed Potatoes
Pick out some unblemished, firm seed potatoes of a good first early variety. Concorde (super flavour), Rocket and old favourite Arran Pilot are all good, but any first early variety will do. .
Put them in the fridge in a brown paper bag or net (not a plastic bag!). They mustn’t be frosted – make sure the temperature doesn’t go below about 34o F (2o C).
Leave them until July, (any later and you’ll risk frost damage before the crop has formed) then take them out, chit them if necessary, and plant them out either in open ground or in a tub or barrel.
Chitting the Potatoes
Small plump tubers are best. Slice any large ones in two with a sharp knife, making sure that there are one or two “eyes” or buds on each portion and dust the cut face with sulphur powder.
Set the tubers out in an old egg tray, “rose” side up (that’s the end with most buds), and putting them in a cool but frost-free, light room (but not in direct sunlight) to sprout.
To get good strong growth, rub off all but the two or three best sprouts on each tuber as soon as they appear.
Open Ground Potato Cultivation
You can plant your seed potatoes out and grow them in the traditional way, earthing them up as they sprout, but most gardeners find growing your potatoes under plastic is very much easier, and produces an equally good potato harvest.
Top growth on July planted tubers will be cut down by the frost, but the potatoes will rest happily under the soil for digging up at Christmas.
Growing Potatoes in a Barrel or Bag
It’s easier still to grow your potatoes in a container. A container 18-24 inches in diameter, and 24-30 inches high will take 3-5 seed potatoes.
You can buy purpose built potato bags or tubs from garden suppliers and seed companies, but any free standing wooden or plastic container filled with multi purpose compost will do to produce a container grown potato crop.
Growing Potatoes in a Greenhouse
If you have a cool greenhouse, plant a succession of containers with chitted early potato tubers from September onwards.
Protected from the frost, your potato plants will produce a succession of crops from early December through the winter.Merry Christmas To You All! Hope This Christmas And New Year Brings A Lot of Good Memories To You 🙂