New Potatoes for Christmas Dinner.
The old trick was to try and store a few tubers of the first early varieties planted out in spring. This often resulted in very varying results.
But now the seed potato suppliers store them for us just at the right temperature so they are ready to plant at the end of July to middle of August.
Marketed as ‘late season’ or ‘second-cropping potatoes’ the most readily available varieties seem to be, Bambino, Carlingford, Charlotte and Maris Peer, all of these can be ordered now from Suttons Seeds and delivered at the right time for planting.
I have tried all four varieties of these late season potatoes and found that they all performed more or less equally, so the choice is purely taste and texture.
Planting Second Cropping Potatoes
Whilst the suppliers suggest that the tubers can be planted in the ground, and they will grow rapidly in the warm soil, I’ve had trouble later on in the season with my wet clay soil, encouraging slugs, and in really wet/cold conditions some have rotted.
So I usually plant in large Potato Buckets or the now popular Potato Planting Sacks.
Planted in three batches, at the start, middle and end of August, just to edge my bets against the weather conditions.
I fill one third of the bag or bucket with cheap multi purpose compost and plant 4 to 5 tubers just below the surface, at this point adding a small quantity of fertiliser.
As the potatoes grow I gradually fill the container up to 3 to 4 inch from the top.
Watering can be a bit tricky but I aim to kept the container moist whilst the plants get established, and then a bit more generous as the potatoes mature and start to form tubers.
Because the aim is to have fresh potatoes on 25th December, to extend the growing season it’s quite often necessary to bring the container into the cold greenhouse to protect from any early frosts and harsh winter weather.