The (Final) Potato Diaries of 2019

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August 

In this post, I mentioned that I’d seen a post about planting potatoes to grow for Christmas.  I planted up three potato bags, with three tubers in each, using the compost remaining in my old green compost bin – 4 inches below and 4 inches above. I gave the bags a good soaking after placing them on the shady patio.

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I slowly worked my way through the pots of summer potatoes, so once the area by the oil tank was empty, the bags went there until the weather cools, then into the greenhouse.

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These are the last of the Swift first early potatoes. I went into September with one pot of Nicola and two pots of Desiree to go.

I will definitely grow Swift again next year; some in bags and some in my allotment bed, though I’m not sure yet how we’re going to manage to earth them up.

The last day of the long Bank Holiday weekend, and the end of the sunny weather for a while, meant certain jobs in the garden had to be done. With my Nicola and Desiree potatoes now sheltered from the weather in the greenhouse, there was space to move the Charlotte potato bags from the shady patio.

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And they had started sprouting, which was a happy surprise!

By the second week of September, I’d already topped up the compost and they were ready for more, helped in part by a sunny weekend and heavy rain.

Which meant that by mid-September, they were this tall and adding more compost was becoming urgent.

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September

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After a week on their own, Charlotte needed yet more compost, and some water. But a week later, it rained so much that they were more in danger of drowning.

October

I emptied the last of the second-early Nicola potatoes from the pot I moved into the greenhouse in August. These were quite small potatoes, but very tasty.  They were quite solid and took a long time to cook either boiled or steamed. I’ll try these again. I still had two pots of Desiree keeping dry too, which is why the Charlottes were left outside.

Then we had a cold snap which left the Charlotte potatoes looking very sorry for themselves so I brought them into the shed and hoped for the best.

November

Only time will tell if there are potatoes in here to be eaten at Christmas.

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I have my doubts.

December 

With a break in the wet weather and Christmas almost upon us, I braved my greenhouse to pick some potatoes. I had no idea what to expect but was pleasantly surprised.

Desiree

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The final pot of main crop Desiree which I had kept as an experiment.  Would there be any potatoes in there, or would they have rotted away?

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Things were looking good. But in the end, these six were all I found; they are a good size and there is no apparent damage to them. There are enough for Christmas lunch for two or Boxing Day lunch for three.

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Charlotte

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Bought especially for late planting, I had no confidence in there being any potatoes in here. The compost was soggy, despite no watering for weeks. But as I started digging in, there was no smell of rot so I was hopeful.

I only checked and emptied one bag out of the three I planted, and was amazed when these rather grubby and muddy specimens appeared. Again, not many, but enough.

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They just needed a good wash.

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So, I found out that . . .

  • you can keep summer potatoes until Christmas, provided the compost is dry and the potatoes are covered,
  • you can plant late potatoes and have new potatoes for Christmas, just don’t expect a large crop.

Hopefully the other two bags will contain at least the same amount of new potatoes, if not more. I’m keeping them for New Year’s Day.

I’ll definitely grow Desiree again as main crop, and Swift for first earlies. I didn’t get much yield from the Nichola second earlies so will be looking around for another variety.

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