Growing Potatoes – New Potatoes for Christmas

Growing Potatoes Successfully :

New Potatoes for Christmas

I have heard of all sorts of methods of growing and producing new potatoes for Christmas, but in most cases they are simply potatoes dug at the normal time which have been sealed up in biscuit tins or other containers and then buried in the soil.

new potatoes for Christmas

This is my method for growing new potatoes for Christmas: after I have planted out all the seed potatoes I need, I string unsprouted sets on a fairly stiff wire. One end is bent to prevent the potatoes sliding off and they are simply skewered on a 2 foot length with the rose ends to the side. As each medium to large tuber will produce from 5 to 8 oz of new potatoes, you merely calculate how many old tubers you require to give you the quantity of new potatoes that are needed. A hook is  bent on the other end and the string of potatoes hung on a nail on the outside of the potting shed wall.

The strings are left hanging until there is danger of frost in the autumn, which is roughly about the end of September. They are exposed to all weathers and they will make strong sturdy purple shoots. The only attention they require is to keep them free from greenfly which can be done by spraying with an insecticide. Normally when I spray roses with a mixture of insecticide and fungicide I merely spray the potatoes too as a matter of routine. Any tubers which go rotten or show signs of decay should be removed immediately.

All that is required when you take the tubers off the wires, is to lay them in boxes on a bed of dry peat with the tubers about 2 inches apart. For many years I have had in my possession long wooden banana boxes but any receptacle about 5 or 6 inches deep will do. Cover completely to a depth of about 2 in with more dry peat and store in the – garage or shed, and simply leave them until you want them. They don’t need any watering. What actually happens is that the small tubers are produced on the old mother tubers and the largest new potatoes will attain the size of a golf ball with several smaller ones. You can, of course, remove the large ones and put the others back to develop which they will continue to do until they have drained the old tuber quite dry of food.

Most people will have seen this actually happen at the bottom of sacks or boxes which have been left and it is merely a controlled method of developing what potatoes do naturally. The sprouts will not develop very much, seldom more than l l/2 inches. They will be very thick and fleshy and the new potatoes will form just where the sprouts join the old tuber, extracting moisture and plant food from these swollen shoots as well. These potatoes really do taste like new potatoes and only need to be cleaned with a soft brush.

roasted new potatoes for Christmas

With regard to variety, I find very little difference whether you use early, mid-season or late but a heavy cropping variety will, of course, give better results than, say, Golden Wonder which is not a very heavy cropper. Generally, white potatoes are more productive than coloured ones, although Arran Victory does very well.

Growing potatoes can be very rewarding and all that remains to be said now, is enjoy your new potatoes for Christmas!




11. August 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Fruit & Veg, Root Vegetables | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Growing Potatoes – New Potatoes for Christmas

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