How to: Grow Potatoes for Christmas


Imagine serving up your very own delicious, homegrown potatoes, fresh from your garden for your Christmas meal.

Christmas potatoes are normally early or second early second crop varieties. Charlotte, Duke of York, Pentland Javelin and Maris Peer are popular choices, and choosing a waxy salad variety means they can also be used for Boxing Day salads. Most early potatoes will take about 12 weeks from planting to harvesting, so planting in late August or early September should have them ready for your festive table. The warmer summer soil does away with the need to chit and the tubers can be planted straight into the ground or containers.

Our deliveries of taster pack potatoes from Taylors (£2.99 for 9 tubers) will start in early July. These will be cold-stored potato tubers that have been deliberately held back to be planted in the summer season.

They can be planted in warm, sunny ground, but can also be grown in bags or large pots which is ideal as the containers can be moved to warmer sites to avoid frost damage. Follow the steps below for a successful harvest: 

  1. Dig down approximately 30cm, or use a container at least 30cm deep and wide which has drainage holes (potato growing containers and bags are available).
  2. Add a layer of potting compost, or garden compost mixed with garden soil, or well-rotted manure to fill about a third of the planting area.
  3. Plant 1 tuber per each 30cm prepared, allowing 30cm space per tuber for growing room. Cover with about 10-15cm of compost or soil.
  4. Add more compost or soil as the stems grow as this creates more space for the developing potatoes to spread through.
  5. Keep the plants well watered. Apply liquid fertiliser occasionally. Move to a frost-free area or cover with fleece to protect your crop. Remove fleece during the day to encourage maximum sunshine absorption.
  6. Once the foliage dies down, remove it and add it to your composting,
  7. If growing in pots or bags, the tubers can be left in the container in almost dry compost until needed. If growing in light soil, the earth should be heaped up and covered with straw or fleece; tubers in heavier, wetter or colder soil should be lifted and stored in a frost-free area, in coarse sand or soil.
  8. When you are ready to harvest, containers can be upended and compost pulled away to reveal your prize. Using a border fork is the best way to get them out of the ground, being careful not to damage your lovely crop.
  9. The final step - Prepare your lovely new potatoes and enjoy your meal.