New Potatoes for Christmas?
Late Planting or Christmas potatoes as they are commonly known are planted late-June or July to produce that “new potato” taste late in the season (They can be an enjoyable addition to the traditional Christmas dinner: a bowl of delicious, steaming baby potatoes garnished with parsley).
How are they grown?
The key to growing these out-of-season new potatoes is to obtain specially produced and stored classified seed potatoes. Locate an area of ground in your garden or a few large containers for your patio and follow the simple growing instructions below.
What is special about late cropping seed potatoes?
The seed potatoes grow very quickly when they are buried in the warm summer soil, producing good numbers of uniformly shaped potatoes, as the days shorten into autumn. The varieties of seed potatoes suitable for second cropping are specially selected by our technical team – see list below.
These government classified seed potatoes, which are grown on specialist farms are harvested during September/October. They are kept in our cool temperature controlled stores until June the following year when they are graded and packed ready for sale.
Care and attention
Although second cropping is easy, a little extra care and attention is required. Please see our Growing Guide below for further details.
Christmas New Seed Potatoes are available in July and August.
Second Cropping (Christmas) Potatoes (June / July planting)
The seed tubers coming from us are in store in the warm summer air will start to grow and respire and may feel quite moist, so it is desirable to plant them as soon as possible for best results.
Containers are a good choice if you do not have enough space, with the added advantage that you can start them off outside and finish in the greenhouse when there is space.
Growing in pots (our recommend way)
- Select a pot around 35cm (14″) wide & at least the same depth. fill by a third with a good multipurpose compost such as Erin Multipurpose Compost
- Place three tubers, equally spaced onto the compost & cover with 10cm (4″) of the compost.
- once the new growth is around 10cm (4″) tall top up the compost. Repeat this every few days as the foliage grows.
- Once the pot is full the top growth will produce the new potatoes.
Growing in garden soil
- A greenhouse or polytunnel is ideal as it will extend a more hospitable growing season.
- Dig the ground, then rake and apply potato fertilizer as per supplier’s instructions.
- Plant in rows 25 to 30 inches apart and 10 to 12 inches between the potatoes.
- Dibble seed potatoes in or make trenches covering the seed potatoes with 5 inches of soil.
- As the fresh shoots emerge draw up the earth round about them
- Weed as necessary, until a full canopy develops.
- If ground conditions/ compost are very dry, water as required but don’t overdo it and avoid watering the leaves as this may encourage the spread of blight.
Extra care and attention
- As autumn approaches, early frosts will quickly kill the foliage, so pay attention to weather forecasts. The use of fleeces, straw or mini poly tunnels will offer protection. covering the pot or rows with a ‘greenhouse/tunnel’ will extend the growing season & produce more potatoes.
- Scrape away the soil to observe the development of tuber size and numbers. When they are the size you want, or if foliar blight is rampant, cut the stems back at the base of the plant and dispose of them.
- Cover the buried crop with extra soil or straw or fleece to protect from ground frost.
- Harvesting can be delayed until you are ready to enjoy that “new potato texture and flavour.”
- If you have problems with slugs you could remove the crop and store in compost in a cool place.
- Don’t forget to boast about your own grown new potatoes at Christmas.