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Growing New Potatoes for Christmas


Whilst we were in the garden centre in August we saw that they were selling potato tubers to grow for Christmas. Well, “why not” we said, “give it a try”. There were several varieties on offer and we bought a bag of Charlotte, I think it was, tubers.
There were nine tubers in the bag and we had three suitable growing bags available. As an extra experiment I tried three different types of compost in the bags:
1) Pure garden compost from the bin
2) A mix of 50/50 garden compost and soil
3) A propriety multi-purpose compost.
A few inches of compost was placed in the bottom of each bag, the tubers positioned on the top of the compost and then covered by a few more inches of compost. The first thing that we noticed was how quickly they came into growth. More compost was added as the potatoes grew and it was only a week or two before the bags were full. If we had been growing for foliage effect then each bag would have won prizes. One reason for growing in bags was that I would lift them into the greenhouse if frost was forecast; however the bags were so big and bulky that it was not feasible. Instead, once the frosts started in October, I covered them with fleece. This gave some protection but by the end of November most of the foliage had died back. In December we decided to empty one of the bags and prepared to feast.
Aye, well!
No problem with the quantity of produce but they were marble sized and that was the larger ones. Out of the three seed tubers we had one boiling of potatoes. The other bags were emptied later in the month with similar results.
Of the compost experiment, the ones grown in pure compost were fractionally larger but there were fewer of them.
Why were the results so poor? It was not lack of water, a common fault with container grown potatoes. The compost was always moist, mostly from direct rainfall. I think it was because of the lack of light. The tubers were planted in August as the days were getting shorter, the opposite to March/April planted tubers. Here in the north of Scotland we experience a rapid shortening of daylight hours as we move into autumn and this last year we had precious few bright days anyway.
Will we try again for next Christmas? Somehow I think not!

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Oh that's a shame. It's something that seems to be promoted in gardening books and magazines, although I have never tried it. Having said that, I have tried other over wintering veg and not been very successful!
I must agree with you that it could be the lack of light this time of year. Good on you for trying!

1 Jan, 2013


Such a shame! We thought about doing the same thing, but didn't get round to it, and anyway, our efforts at growing earlies and maincrop in containers were very disappointing. Rather glad now we didn't bother.

1 Jan, 2013


I tried some Mr B, it stated they would be ready for xmas, I think the poor things have rotted in the wet as there hasn`t been a sign of any growth whatsoever, not an unexpected result in the circumstances..
Happy New Year to You .......

1 Jan, 2013


I tried some in my potting shed and cold frame a few years ago but, like yours, marble sized at best! Although, I didn't't buy tubers specially, just saved a couple and also planted 2 from my spring/summer crop! All the same though, tiny!!

1 Jan, 2013


Same result for me. Expensive marbles. Never again!

1 Jan, 2013


thats a shame Bulba. I know how you and mg like growing your veg. I suspect lack of light and warmth were to blame for the small tubers. Still at least you tried. More than I did this year.
hope 2013 is a good growing year for you and mg and everyone else too.

1 Jan, 2013


That is a shame Bb but better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. I was lucky in not planting any potatoes at all this year and have been able to buy good farm grown ones, locally. I hear a lot of keen veg growers saying this has been the worst year ever for veggies, especially potatoes. They are putting it down to the coolness of the summer and the amount of rain we have had.

1 Jan, 2013


Well, you have to try these things - once. The yield from our summer crop was also low but acceptable. I had thought that we had blight in them but they are storing well.
Raining again today so we will have to get the seed order ready to send off.
Thanks for all the comments and a great New Year to all.

2 Jan, 2013


Great Blog.

3 Oct, 2013

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