I’m attempting to grow some Potatoes for Christmas Day. I had heard that it was possible but I’ve never tried it before. I’ve done some research so I’ll tell you what I know but with the proviso that I’m not speaking from experience here, just hearsay.
Firstly, you need to buy a solid second-early variety like Maris Peer. Then you should plant them in the normal way. I planted mine a week ago and already they are growing well.
The trick with Summer-planted Potatoes is watering. They need watering during any dry periods – just until Autumn when there should be enough rain to water them naturally.
When the plants are around 25cm high, earth them up to give them a good sturdy grounding and space to grow in.
You might find that Summer-planted Potatoes are prone to Blight because they’ll be sitting through a lot of wet weather. You can decide how you will cope with that. If you’re okay using Bordeaux Mixture then you can do that, or you can try to grow them under cover (either poly tunnel or greenhouse). But either way snip off infected leaves as they occur, as you would with normal Potatoes.
But what about frost? Well, certainly in the UK the worst of the weather usually comes post-Christmas time. So you should be able to keep and eye on the weather and throw a fleece over them if there is a particularly nasty frost forecast. But, if your Potatoes make it to November and a frost hits then the leaves might die back but the Potatoes should be fine underground for a few weeks.
Just remember to dig up your Potatoes ‘before’ Christmas Day if there is frost forecast. You wouldn’t want to put in all that effort only to be foiled by a solid, unworkable soil on the big day!
great idea! It never ocured to me to do that. Wow you surely are planning for the winter. I am planning on carrots, Brussel sprouts and broccoli but now you have me itching to try out a few more things. Hmm. I will certainly stick a few potatoes into the tunnel for sure.
Hi, I’m busy chitting mine now and they are going in bags which will be outside until the weather gets bad and then I’ll move them into our plastic greenhouse where they will be sheltered from the worst of the weather, I’m using strawberry bags that I’ve just bought from the Garden Centre for £3 [taped up the holes on the sides that the strawbs are supposed to grow out of] I’m also going to use some Ike@ bags as I’ve more potatoes that strawberry bags!! Helen
Ooooh, another inspiring post! Where do you buy seed potatoes at this time of year?
Good idea will go well with the Brussels.
Alchemilla – I bought mine from the garden centre who had loads HTH, Helen
I just came across your blog, and really enjoyed reading it. Keep up the great work.
I’ll be watching. This is very interesting. I tried growing potatoes in containers with limited success.
Hi where can I buy the maris piper from? My garden centre was quite snooty and said “Ouuu no, you cannot do this until next year!!” So when I have read this on your blog its very exciting. Also, do I need holes in the bottom of the bin? Please help, I have never done this before.
I always thought that potatoes grown for Christmas Day had to be specially prepared with a period of refrigeration to fool them into thinking that it was Spring. This is the way they treat Spring bulbs to get them to flower early.
Interesting idea. My husband is keen on fresh tatties – could be a Christmas present! Keep him away from the sprouts though…
We grew red cabbage for Christmas Day last year, delicious braised with apples and onions etc
I’m really inspired to see what I can grow for Christmas now! Also going to think about what chutneys I can make to go with all that Christmas cheese!
Mine are well away in bags.
It’s a good idea but on the only occasion I tried them they started well but then blight got them all. Hope you have better luck.
hey, the current issue of “grow it” gardener’s magazine actually has an article on growing potatoes for Christmas in it. They talk about 65-100 days for the spuds to grow till harvest, so now is the time. And they also talk about blight and containers etc. and show how it’s done.
I’m not sure why but my shop bought potatoes often “chitt” on their own with no fridge treatment or anything and the current ones will go into this growing project for sure.
I have done this afew times, with mixed success. The plants that made it all the way to Christmas were fine, but only about 40% of them did make it that far.
Frost isn’t likely to be a problem, but the atrocious weather we often have in October/November can be harmful in other ways – mine have been flattened by heavy rains and high winds, so it helps if you can give them some shelter
I’ve been thinking about trying this for a while. Have sacks and buckets and thought if i grew them in greenhouse that would avoid rotten weather. Tomatoes finished so greenhouse free. I wouldn’t need heat though would I? What else could I grow for christmas in cold greenhouse?
Good luck with your potatoes.
Why not try a plastic mulch as well.
They are known to heat up the soil. They also prevent water and frost from penetrating.
A black mulch heats up the soil more so than clear plastic (for obvious reasons; black conducts heater best).
Or why not try growing tomatoes in containers of composted material. This way you can carry them indoor to protect them from frost.
Check out the following webpage for more on growing potatoes:
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Been downsizing our veg garden for years. Realised we shouldnadonit so set up a new mini plot this last 12 months, (couldn’t sell the house). The local soil is very peculiar so we built a 4m x3M raised bed, dug it over a spade deep and spread a cubic Metre of mushroom compost on top.
so far we’ve had an amazing crop of runner beans (Butler),
a superb row of potatoes (Estima), a wonderful bag of Pink Fir Apple, a row of giant onions, a row of shallots,two rows of lettuce and all this, in spite of the drought.
We managed to get some seed potatoes (Charlotte) locally so we are going to try some in bags for Christmas.
Will report, Pat and Den