Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spuds for Christmas

At the beginning of October we planted our first ever potatoes. After posting about it, Greenfumb left the comment “Good luck with your first crop, nothing nicer than homegrown spuds on Christmas day.” Reading this comment got me quite excited. But I was unsure whether Greenfumb was just making a general statement about her like of spuds or whether she was indicating when ours were likely to be ready. Living in hope, while doing the Christmas food shopping I took the chance and didn’t buy any. The day before Christmas a called the children into the garden and got them to start digging. To theirs and my excitement they came out baring golden and bronze treasure.

So despite majority being small in size we did indeed have fresh home grown spuds for Christmas dinner, and the consensus at the dinner table was that they were indeed superb. So it does go to show what a difference homegrown and/or fresh makes regards to taste.

I must admit I felt a child like joy when I joined the children in the harvesting. The experience was so different from harvesting a fruiting vegetable like tomatoes that you have watched develop. Potato harvesting really did feel like digging for treasure. We didn’t harvest the lot, only what we needed and left the plants intact being careful not to disturb them too much. So I hope we will get some more before the plants die back. Anyone know when that is likely to occur?

The potatoes growing in sacks we left alone as harvesting would spell an end to them. I am curious to see what the total yield is using this approach.

I gave the technique of mounding dirt around the plant to increase yield a go but found it required allot of extra soil. So only ended up with a very little hill. Pulling soil from the surrounding area I found difficult due to mulch and other plants in the bed. I could have got some soil brought in but was unsure what I would do with it once the potatoes had finished with it. I would be interested to know more about what other people do.

The plants also took up allot more space than expected. Their branches tend to run outwards along the ground and as you can see this bed has very little room for anything else. Growing in sacks definitely solves this. I wonder if I should have been cropping them back when they started pushing other developing plants over.

In summary growing potatoes has been a very easy and rewarding exercise. Despite being quite cheep to purchase I would highly recommend growing them even if just for that special Christmas treat.


  1. I'm hoping to put our first potato in sacks in coming weeks and you've motivated me even more THANKS :)

  2. We had home-grown spuds for Christmas Day too. Very satisfying feeling to watch the people you love tucking into the potatoes you grew yourself!

  3. So glad you got some - being a woman of little (no) patience we ate ours before Christmas but homegrown spuds are so good it's hard to resist them. You can leave the plants in now until the tops die off if you like. I never last that long because I need the space for the next crop but I would if I had more room.

  4. aus.keeys is the time still right to plant potatoes where you are? I think here in Adelaide the time has passed. Mind you I might put another one in and see what happens.

    Frogdancer yes very satisfying.

    greenfumb thank you for making the mentioned comment. I probably would have waited until they died back before harvesting any and would have missed out on the wonderful Christmas potato experience. I understand your need for space the same goes for me. My first bed of spuds will need to be harvested in a few weeks because it is time for the next rotation of the chooks.

  5. I plant in a ditch to start with then fill it and mound up until the soil is all used. Then use straw. I just keep it moist and keep adding it. The potatoes don't seem to know the difference between soil and damp, rotting straw.

  6. Hazel that's a brilliant idea. If I have understood correctly by first making a ditch you have created on either side of the ditch the soil used to progressively bury the potatoes. Then adding straw as a soil alternative. Love it! that will work for me. Do you push down and cover the foliage each time?

  7. Hi Jason, Nice blog - glad I found it. Congratulations on your potato harvest. Depending on the variety my potato take about 3-5 months to die back completely (in Melbourne). I grow some in pots and have just been harvesting from August plantings where the foliage had pretty much completely gone - they were Kipflers the other varieties are still growing away happily. My ones in the ground - Sept plantings are still very green and happy. Potatoes dont like it to get too hot which is the only issue with planting now. I can get pretty much year round crops in Melbourne though so I would put a couple back in and see what happens. If you dont try now I would definitely try in Autumn as I see no reason why they wouldn't grow in winter in Adelaide.

  8. Liz welcome and thank you. Great information, particularly about the year round crop. I will plant just a couple now just as an experiment and then a dozen in Autumn.

  9. Absolutely beautiful potatoes....good job! We plant our potatoes deep, maybe 12-14 inches, and don't do any mounding, this has worked well for us the past couple years and requires much less work...and water.


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