Now is the time to buy your new potatoes if you plan to grow them for your Christmas Day lunch. They are so simple to grow and taste fantastic!
Seed potatoes are available online and in garden centres again in August. They will be ready for your Christmas lunch if you get them planted now. These varieties are relatively cheap, and it’s best to buy them now while they are still fresh and a good selection is available. I am using “Rocket” because it is a fast-maturing first early variety with waxy, white flesh and it usually produces a large crop. “Swift” is another variety that I would recommend, but there are plenty of others worth trying as well. It is usually important to “chit” your seed potatoes first in the spring but I wouldn’t bother doing this for your Christmas potatoes.
I find that many of the packs you can buy have far too many seed potatoes in them but don’t worry if you have too many — why not give them to friends or neighbours? Place your seed potatoes in a large bag or container and line the bottom with 15 cm (6 inches) of compost. Put the seed potatoes just below the surface of the compost. I use either garden compost or organic, peat-free compost. As the shoots grow, just keep topping up the compost until your container or bag is full.
We will obviously be growing these potatoes in winter, so at the first sign of frost you will need to bring the pot indoors to a frost-free, light place to keep them growing. Alternatively, you can keep them in a frost-free greenhouse. Last year I kept mine under horticultural fleece in a sheltered spot because it was a really mild winter.
And that’s all there is to it! They taste wonderful with your turkey and stuffing. Show us how you get on — we would love to see a photo or two. Have fun and enjoy the process!
Paul Lowis – Chair/The Green Man on behalf of SLH