I've been growing potatoes for a Christmas harvest for the past 10 years and it's still exciting to get fresh spuds from the garden and a few hours later they are on the Christmas table.
This year I'm growing a new variety for me called Vitabella. I bought them for £7.49 a bag, along with another variety, Maris Peer.
Vitabella - Good for Chipping, Boiling, Steaming
The suppliers, Patch Potatoes, describe this variety as...
"Vitabella is a beautiful and flavourful waxy ware potato which is well suited for organic growing due to its excellent blight resistance. Vitabella has oval tubers with pale yellow to yellow flesh and a yellow skin. It is a firm cooking oval ware potato. The taste, the presentation and the storage characteristics of Vitabella are also very good. The variety is also suitable for making home French fries. The oval tubers have a good yellow to light yellow flesh color and a very nice presentation. Vitabella can be harvested very quickly, because of its strong skin. Best suited to light soils with a good structure and not too scab-sensitive. Early variety requiring good fertilisation."
Maris Peer - Good for Boiling, Baking, Salad
Maris Peer really are a wonderful growing potato. They are perfectly suited for patio growing and for garden use, producing a unique lightly scented purple flower. Tuber-wise they have nice firm creamy flesh which holds up well after cooking. The flavour is very good and is preferred by many top chefs. You will even see Maris Peer mentioned on menus as an accompaniment which is an achievement in itself. You can expect heavy yields of decent sized tubers enjoy these boiled. Or when harvested a little earlier they make a great small salad potato. Another good Christmas Cropper."
Usually I would grow them in containers and keep them in the garden until the threat of the first frost then move them inside to either a shed or greenhouse. Over the past few months I've been cleaning the plot and been giving away my large containers to my friend. But this year I have a border in the greenhouse so there won't be the problem of having to move them indoors when the frost is due, I can just put some garden fleece around them and let them continue to grow.
They will be harvested on Christmas Eve or ideally on Christmas Day so they get from the ground to the pot within the hour.
If you would like to grow along with me get some seed potatoes which can be especially grown for Summer planting and Winter harvest, they will be marked 'Christmas Potatoes'. If you fail to find them, just go for a fast growing 'First Early Potato'. Get them into containers as soon as possible in September. Treat them the same way as main crop potatoes - keep them watered and weed free plus earth-up as the season progresses and let's see if we can all be eating our own homegrown potatoes at the festive table.