How to: Grow Potatoes for Christmas

Christmaspotatoes

What better way to wow your dinner guests this Christmas than serving up your very own delicious, home grown potatoes fresh from the garden.
Follow our easy guides and whether you grow your potatoes in containers or in the ground, you’ll have the best tasting spuds just in time for Christmas:

  • Plant early & second early potato varieties are recommendedin late summer – these have been held back specifically for summer planting
  • If planting these specifically for Christmas dinner then best to plant in late August or September
  • They will be ready to harvest about 12 weeks from planting
  • In summer, the soil is warmer so they won’t need to be chitted & can be planted straight away either into containers or the ground.
  • You can also store potatoes dry in a cool, dark place in a potato sack or hessian bag until the big day

How to grow potatoes in containers

Try growing your potatoes in containers or grow bags so that you can move them if the temperature does drop as these do need protecting from frost. They are ideal for the frost-free greenhouse, cool conservatory or bright porch. Tubers can be left in their pots until Christmas so long as they are kept fairly dry. Feed with a general purpose liquid feed.

  1. Start with a large container, ideally at least 45cm (18in) wide. Place the container in a sunny position and fill the container with compost. Make sure to fill it up to within 20cm (8in) from the top of the container.
  2. In early April, About 2 seed potatoes will more than fill a 45cm (18in) pot.
  3. Just cover the potatoes with more compost and water them in. If a late frost is forecast, cover the pot and move it to a sheltered position.
  4. Keep covering the new shoots with compost as they grow, covering them each time. Repeat this process until the compost has reached the top of the container.
  5. Feed the crop with a general fertiliser each week from May to July and check the water level each day. Check the size of the tubers underneath the compost when the foliage starts to die down and harvest when they feel big enough.

How to grow potatoes in the ground

  1. Lay out your seed potatoes on trays or in egg boxes, placing each potato rose end up. Keep them in a frost-free environment (no warmer than about 15°C).
  2. When April arrives, it’s time to plant your potatoes. They should have good shoots, so make sure. Plant those 10cm (4in) deep with the eyes facing upwards.
  3. When the shoots appear above the surface, draw the soil over them with a hoe to create a ridge. If frost is forecast, cover exposed shoots.
  4. Water the crop well (the soil rather than the leaves) and scatter a general fertiliser around the base of the plants. in May, June and July.
  5. After about 10-12 weeks, carefully sink a fork underneath one potato to see if the crop is ready.
  6. If growing them in the ground piling up the earth or covering the row with straw may be sufficient to store them in the ground until Christmas