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How to grow new potatoes for Christmas.


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James Kilkelly, was GPI.
Rank: Site Admin


Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2009
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:19 pm    Post subject: How to grow new potatoes for Christmas. Reply with quote

How to grow new potatoes for Christmas.
by GPI

What food rules Christmas day? Turkey, probably, sprouts, maybe, but potatoes, surely not. The potatoes in your Christmas dinner mainly take the form of a few fat roast spuds or else they become the makeweight within a turkey stuffing mix.

In truth, the humble but versatile potato has never really been regarded as the centrepiece of the Christmas dinner, but you now have the ability to change all that, by growing new potatoes for harvest on Christmas morn. You can be the family show off for that special day, as you head out to uncover a crop of those flavour filled potatoes, delicious eaten skins and all, complete with a knob of butter. If you've ever grown potatoes before, then you already have most of the experience you need to carry out this task, so why not give it a try.

What to plant.
Now there are specially prepared cold-store seed potatoes for winter growing available from mail order seed merchants across the water in the UK, but unfortunately these are not available for delivery into Ireland. Late cropping Varieties such 'Carlingford', 'Charlotte', 'Maris Peer' and 'Nicola', if available would allow you the best chance of success, due to them being cold treated. This breaks the spuds dormancy and spurs them into growth.

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However you will get away with using some of the smaller potatoes from your most recent crop or even small potatoes from a local farmer or fruit & veg shop. 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. The variety "Orla" is to be recommended if you can track some down, as it is an early growing variety with good disease resistance.

You can carry out your own cold treatment on your seed potatoes by putting them in a paper bag, then popping them in the fridge (not freezer) for a week. Save your old egg boxes, rip the tops off, and plonk your potatoes into them right side up on a bright windowsill for about another week before begin sowing.

. Growing potatoes in canvas sacks, photo / picture / image.

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 promised. 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. Add to this drainage further by spreading a 5-10cm deep layer of polystyrene packaging broken up to golf ball-sized chunks. On to the drainage layer spread a 15cm (6in) thickness of loam-based compost mixed with your own homemade compost or well-rotted manure, you are then ready to pop in your pops.

The number of seed potatoes you plant will depend on the diameter of your containers. As a rough rule of thumb, allow two well-spaced potatoes for every 30cm (1ft) of container diameter. Ensure that the eyes of the potato are facing up, cover with 15cm (6in) of compost and water in well.

As the potato stems and leaves grow, gradually add compost to your container to keep the top of the compost about 3 inches below the top of the plant at all times. To achieve a good crop, keep the whole lot well watered, spray against blight if required, and protect the plants from frost when it is forecast.

When Christmas day finally arrives, hopefully you will be unwrapping your present or unearthing your harvest to the ohhs and ahhs of relatives and friends alike.

Any queries or comments on How to grow new potatoes for Christmas, please post below.

Associated content.....
Increasing your stock of seed pototoes, How-to Video.

How to chit seed potatoes for earlier and heavier cropping.

How to manage the top two potato pests, Wireworm and Slugs.

Common potato Scab, Management of the problem.

Potato blight, how to treat Phytophthora infestans.

Planning a Vegetable Garden? How to Make a Vegetable Garden.

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Last edited by James Kilkelly, was GPI. on Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:31 pm; edited 5 times in total
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walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
Posts: 705
Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a fascinating challenge and I'm going for it. I have six small potatoes cooling their skins in the fridge since 9Sep. They'll be coming out to the window-sill in a day or two. I have bags of soil (from recycled waste) ready to go and I'll try to keep an update running maybe even with pictures if my mobile phone is up to it! There is a bigger story behind this project! But I'll wait to see the spuds sprouting before I tell it.
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sal
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Location: kerry

PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i`m going to give this a go,it sounds easy even i shouldn`t have a problem, have just bought some small new potatoes from lid8s will they do?
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:43 pm    Post subject: christmas spuds? Reply with quote

Go for it Sal. There's nothing wrong with LIDL.

Let me tell you where my 'seed' came from. About last March some local yobs were entertaining themselves and why not by firing raw spuds over houses in the vicinity. Some landed in my place. One which I did not see landed in a quiet nook of my gravel path and about June I saw it putting leaves up. I'm the kinda person to leave well enough alone, so I did just that. The little stalks grew flowered and withered and then I read GPI's post on Christmas spuds about ten days ago. I carefully pulled back the gravel, dug up about six little spuds the size of a pullets egg and as GPI advised I put them into the fridge until today. They are now in a north facing window, my bedroom actually He He turned the right way up I think. So I have to wait a couple of weeks as I understand it for them to chit.

Since we mentioned LIDL, they have a very interesting Autumn Gardening Special from next Thursday 25th. I see some very nice stuff and may be tempted. I don't know if these promotions are the same in Ireland as England.

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anchoress
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time was, when we had a tunnel, I had potatoes all year round, grown in a dry grass mulch, in one corner. No great fuss; they just carried on growing.

Cannot afford a tunnel here, but still learning the land now to see what can be grown here...fascinating to do that in a new place.
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Irish Rose
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:46 pm    Post subject: Anything tater interests me ... Reply with quote

Of all vegetables, my favourite has to be the common potato (Solanum tuberosum)! Spuds, taters, patata (in Spanish), and the oodles of other names they are called.

How do I like them? Any way, but especially baked, boiled, mashed, scalloped, pattied, fried or as a soup - I am salivating even as I type Very Happy .

Those little red taters are pretty special in stews or alongside a roast chicken or beef ...

Now, I bet you thought I'd veered totally away from the topic I answered on, but I haven't. Simply put, growing taters is a beautiful thing to do and the more ways I find to do so the better.

I am adding this method and the other hints and tips to my 'Tater Totally' database; thanks for a great read!

Take care and keep growing,
Irish Rose

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walltoall
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:53 pm    Post subject: Howdy doodee Irish Rose Reply with quote

Nice to say hello to a Canadian, even if you are Irish? The saga of the spud goes on. The wee praties I put in the north window have not sprouted! So I reckon they will not sprout at all. I'll have to wait a while and do the conventional bag method in the Spring. I'm hoping Anchoress will enlarge on her tunnel method. Presume you are well into the kind of winter we can only dream of? Presume you get the kind of snow that keeps you away from the garden til April?

Here in Essex England there's a new way of bagging spuds. We've all been given sortof plastickey bags to recycle rubbish and someone discovered that since the material is woven, it can breathe and we're going to try a few spuds come Spring.

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loughlin20
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

will this a try in my new polytunnel! Smile
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michelle M
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could I chance sowing my shop bought roosters? They are already sprouting in the bag.
Do spuds sown for xmas still need to be sprayed for blight? Is it a year round disease or seasonal?
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Yorky
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it too late to do this now? I've got some organic 'Orla' first earlies which were harvested about ten days ago and left in a tub in the garage.

There are some golf ball-sized ones which I have just put in an egg box on the gargae windowcill. Do I need to put them in the fridge first or is there insufficient time?

I intend putting three in each 80ltr potato planter, in equal parts of manure/soil/compost and then putting them outside and then in the greenhouse say in October / November. Is this correct?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
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windy
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

michelle M wrote:
Could I chance sowing my shop bought roosters? They are already sprouting in the bag.
Do spuds sown for xmas still need to be sprayed for blight? Is it a year round disease or seasonal?


shouldn't be a problem all mine are doing well and they came from tesco
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windy
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yorky wrote:
Is it too late to do this now? I've got some organic 'Orla' first earlies which were harvested about ten days ago and left in a tub in the garage.

There are some golf ball-sized ones which I have just put in an egg box on the gargae windowcill. Do I need to put them in the fridge first or is there insufficient time?

I intend putting three in each 80ltr potato planter, in equal parts of manure/soil/compost and then putting them outside and then in the greenhouse say in October / November. Is this correct?

Thanks in advance for any replies.


give it a go Yorky theirs plenty of time yet especially if your putting them inside
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michelle M
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Windy- I decided I'd chance them, so sowed them aug 31st and they are 2/3 inches high already. I'm delighted everytime I look out the window and see them Very Happy
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sineadfoxy
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:44 am    Post subject: roosters in my tunnel Reply with quote

Hi all got inspired so I went down with my old sprouting roosters and planted a few in the tunel, they are about 10-12 inches high already! don't know how long roosters take but sure may as well give it a go and see what happens, I have a few early potatoe's too I'm gonna see if I can get them sprouting and see what happens. At least I'll know for next year! Confused
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Yorky
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just planted some seed potatoes in containers in the greenhouse. They were my own 'Orla' first earlies which I'd harvested about a month ago.

I put them in the fridge for a week and then on a windowcill for another week but they just turned green and didn't sprout.

I've just sown them now - any opinions on whether they'll be reaqdy for harvesting at Christmas?
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