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How to Grow Christmas Potatoes

It does seem a little early to be talking about Christmas, but if you want to have new potatoes for Christmas dinner this is what you do:

What to plant

You need cold treated seed – the cold breaks the dormancy cycle and spurs the potato into growth again. By using your own homegrown seed potatoes, or those from an organic grower, you can ensure they will not be treated with any chemical to prevent budding.   Early varieties are best as they have the shortest growing cycle.

You can carry out your own cold treatment on the seed potatoes by putting them in a paper bag in the fridge (not freezer) for a couple of weeks.  Once the potatoes have been released form the fridge they will think it is a warm spring day so they start sprouting.  Leave them to chit for a while then when you have nice buds start planting.

How to plant

Sowing time is August or September, and instead of planting into the garden, you should instead sow into a container, which allows you to move your plants to a greenhouse, polytunnel or well-lit shed when frost is around. Potato foliage is tender, turning brown and collapsing if frozen, drastically slowing the growth of the baby potatoes.

You can grow your winter spuds in any moveable containers that can hold 60-70cm depth of soil, such as dustbins, tubs, large buckets or even rolled down compost bags. However, you must ensure your container has adequate drainage holes in the bottom.

Keep them warm and watered with as much light as possible then come the day you will be ready!  Prepare to be showered in compliments at you horticultural achievement. However if things go wrong you might be having rice with your turkey.

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