Haskins Garden Centres are encouraging those with ‘green fingers’ to get ahead and plan for a Christmas dinner with a difference – by planting and harvesting potatoes to enjoy during the festive period.

Alasdair Urquhart, plant advisor at Haskins Garden Centre, Ferndown, said: “To many, it is a delight to savour the fruits of your labour by tucking into delicious home-grown food.  It may still be the summer, but a potato planted in August into a frost free greenhouse, cool conservatory or bright porch can produce tasty ‘roasties’ for Christmas Day.”

Alasdair’s tips on growing potatoes are:

  • Always use fresh compost if growing in containers or in bags
  • Deter slugs and snails
  • Potatoes grown outside in autumn can be susceptible to ‘potato blight’, so consider using a cloche or growing tunnel to protect them. Indoor plants are rarely affected
  • Feed with a general purpose fertiliser
  • Check weather forecasts for early frosts in your area and protect your plants with fleece, a cloche or a growing tunnel

Different types of potato on offer at Haskins Garden Centres located in Ferndown in Dorset, West End in Southampton and Roundstone and Snowhill in West Sussex include:

Duke of York – a superb all-rounder that has a rich flavour. Suitable for roasting, boiling and steaming.

Maris Peer – ideal for container growing, these potatoes have a superb, light, fresh flavour. They are versatile too, as they don’t disintegrate whilst cooking. Suitable for boiling, roasting and steaming, they also make a great salad potato.

Pentland Javelin – with good disease resistance, this white fleshed potato has a soft, waxy texture once cooked. Suitable for boiling and as a salad potato.

Arran Pilot – a traditional favourite, Arran Pilot makes an ideal new or salad potato. It has a great flavour with a firm, waxy flesh. It also has good disease resistance and tastes best fresh from the earth.

Charlotte – an ideal salad potato for the Boxing Day cold platter. Produces pear shaped tubers with a creamy, white flesh that has an outstanding flavour either hot or cold.

Vanessa – With a beautiful red skin, Vanessa is suitable for boiling or baking. Its waxy flesh also lends itself to salads. It tastes similar to Desiree.