Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Potatoes For Christmas

After the success of my potatoes for Christmas experiment last year, I decided to grow more again for this Christmas. Last year, I just saved some of the seed potatoes which I bought for planting earlier in the year, but this year I decided to order seed potatoes which were delivered later in the year specifically for planting for Christmas. The varieties advertised were Orla, which is a first early, and Vivaldi, Carlingford and Maris Peer which are all second earlies. When they were delivered the Orlas had been substituted for Bambino. They've all been planted in containers and are growing well. At the moment they're outside but I'll make sure that they're moved in to the greenhouse before we get a frost. I don't heat my greenhouse so they'll be covered with fleece for extra protection. It was lovely last year to have newly harvested potatoes on our Christmas dinner plate.

The weather has picked up again over the last couple of days. Last week was so cold that I turned on the central heating to heat the house through before we got out of bed, but that's been turned off again as the weather has improved. I'm hoping that it stays dry as I want to get plenty of digging done before winter sets in.

My tomatoes are still ripening in the greenhouse. I've noticed lots of people starting to take off their green tomatoes and ripen them on the windowsill but I haven't had to resort to this yet. There's a couple of varieties which I've grown for the first time this year which I will definitely grow again next year. The first is San Marzano, a plum tomato which is ideal for cooking or making sauces with, and it has a lovely flavour when cooked. The second is a heirloom variety, Tangella, which has medium sized orange fruit. I was very kindly given some Tangella seeds to try, and so far I haven't been able to find anywhere which sells them, so I'm making sure that I save some seed. I just hope that I manage to grow them again next year as they're delicious.


  1. I will try to remember this post and plant some potatoes for Christmas harvest next year. It's a great idea. Do you get temperatures below freezing in the greenhouse while growing potatoes there?

  2. We haven't taken off our green tomatoes yet either.

  3. I was thinking about new potatoes for Christmas but haven't put them in yet...i hope I won't be too late if I get them in over the next couple of weeks...I have just saved some potatoes which I dug from those I already grew.

    An allotment neighbour of mine grew some Tangella tomatoes...i will ask them where they bought there seed and let you know!!

  4. Good idea Jo although I'm not sure I'd substitute for the standard roasted spuds for Christmas lunch. What would I do with the tin of goose fat at the back of the cupboard!

  5. I don't grow potatoes for Christmas but I do save a few really decent sized ones to have baked on Boxing Day.
    I like to leave tomatoes on the vine as long as possible to ripen. Flighty xx

  6. Jo, I always get such inspiration from reading your posts. I remember what a success your Christmas potatoes were and I'm resolved to grow some too. I will sow them in containers and cover in fleece - hope that will be sufficient? I've resorted to ripening my tomatoes on the window sill as apart from good old Gardener's Delight the other varieties have resolutely stayed green!

    It was beautiful here yesterday but hasn't stopped raining today!


  7. Hope that your Christmas potatoes flourish Jo. Have you dug up a clump of mint to go with them on the big day ? I know what you mean about having digging to do before the winter sets in ~ there is no time for rest at the allotment :)

  8. good luck!
    I hope they grow great.
    It will be nice to have a green house, I hope I have one someday

  9. Home grown potatoes for Christmas sounds lovely!

  10. What a great idea Jo - im bookmarking this to remind my self to get some planted up in time next year. Like you weve had the heating cranked up and Ive broken into the log stash and had the fire going - what happened to Autumn, it feels more like winter here!

  11. Hi, Jo, I remember you had fresh potatoes for Christmas last year. I don't think I can do that here because the temps get far too low. I'll just have to come to your house for Christmas dinner. (Only joking!) Good luck with all your digging. Pam x

  12. I have to watch the temperature very carefully, Vrtlarica, as I don't want the potatoes to get frosted. I make sure that they're covered in plenty of fleece for additional protection. They're definitely worth the effort though to have freshly harvested potatoes with Christmas dinner.

    My tomatoes are still ripening on the plants, Green Lane Allotments. I'd much rather them ripen there than on the window sill.

    I wonder if your allotment neighbour allowed you to try any Tangella tomatoes, Tanya, they're delicious. My potatoes have been growing for a few weeks already, but you could still plant some up and give it a try.

    We'll still have roasties with our Christmas dinner too, Damo. I think there'd be uproar if I did away with those. It's nice to have some new potatoes on the plate as well though.

    It's a good idea to save some good sized potatoes to have in their jackets on Boxing Day, Flighty. My tomatoes are still ripening on the vine so they'll stay there until they won't ripen any more.

    My potato containers go in the greenhouse, Jeanne, but I'm sure they'll be fine outside providing they're given some extra protection. It's a case of not letting any frost get to them. We've had mixed weather too over the last few days, everything from sunshine to wind and rain.

    It never crossed my mind to keep some mint going, Anna. Thanks for the tip, I'll make sure I've got some to add to the potatoes. I didn't get any digging done over the weekend, I really need to pull my finger out.

    My greenhouse is only small, ~fer, 6 foot by 4 foot but it's amazing how much use it gets. I'd like a larger one but this will have to do for now.

    We grew some potatoes for Christmas last year too, Amy. They were delicious and well worth the effort.

    It's hard to know what each day will bring weather wise at the moment, Freerangegirl. It's very damp and drab today, but it wasn't so bad over the weekend. I'd definitely have a go at growing potatoes for Christmas, we really enjoyed them with our Christmas dinner last year.

    You'd be very welcome to pop in for Christmas dinner, Pam. It's a shame you'd have to hop on a plane to do so. I'm hoping to get some digging done this week, I need to get going with it.

  13. Great idea with the potatoes. It's refreshing to see something so vibrantly green at this time of year.

  14. It is nice to see things still springing to life when many other things are on their last legs, Linda. I'm looking forward to emptying the containers on Christmas Eve.


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