Harvest container-grown potatoes just in time for Christmas Day to enjoy that delicious home-grown flavour even in the depths of winter.
Growing your own Christmas dinner has to be the ultimate achievement for ambitious veg gardeners, with a good yield of spuds top of the list. If you haven't planted Christmas spuds this year, make a note to treat yourself next year. You'll find special potato growing barrels and sacks in your garden centre, as well as 'second cropping' seed potatoes specially raised for Christmas growing from September onwards. Good festive season varieties include 'Carlingford' or 'Vivaldi'.
Keep them in a frost-free greenhouse, water well and feed weekly with a specially-formulated potato feed to encourage plenty of tubers. As Christmas Day approaches test your crop by making a hole in the side of the bag and gently burrowing inside: if you feel a tuber the size of a golfball, they're almost ready.
To harvest, simply tip everything out of the container on Christmas morning and pick out the spuds. You can re-plant the potato plant to provide a second, smaller crop in about six weeks' time. When it's finally exhausted, tip out the spent compost onto your compost heap or re-use it on your borders.
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