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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Potato 'Vivaldi' for Christmas

Posted by Graham Rice on 27 Jul 2009 at 12:05 PM

Potato 'Vivaldi' - new for second cropping in 2009. Image: ©DobiesToday's new plant is, in fact, a not quite new way of growing a not quite new variety - it's the combination that's new this season. I'd better explain. Some years ago a smart potato grower came up with the idea of keeping seed potatoes in cold store then planting them in August to produce a crop of new potatoes for Christmas. Clever.

They're called second cropping potatoes, I tried the idea when they first came out and although the crop was not huge, it was a real treat to dig fresh-from-the ground new potatoes in winter.

The other innovation is the potato variety called ‘Vivaldi'. This has been available as a second early potato for spring planting for a year or two and it's known not only for its flavour, creamy texture and resistance to scab, but for the fact that it has 26% less carbohydrate and 33% fewer calories than other varieties. When the BBC reported its launch as a commercial variety it was dubbed "the slimmer's potato". It even has its own Wikipedia page.

Now, for the first time, you can grow ‘Vivaldi' as a second cropping potato for Christmas. Order now, plant them as soon as they arrive, and you could dig new potatoes in October. But it's better just to leave them in the ground, cover them plants with fleece if severe frost threatens and dig them for Christmas. You can also grow them in barrels or large pots.

You can order ‘Vivaldi' second cropping potatoes from Dobies now - but you'll need to be quick.



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