Newest Review: ... Sounds simple? It is! But I have used these before and wouldn't recommend them purely because the potatoes that grew from the seed wer... more
How to grow potatoes in pots
Member Name: clairestevens
Advantages: Realy good potatoes and incredibly easy to grow
Disadvantages: None that I can think of
Where would we be without potatoes? Roast dinners wouldn't be half as nice, sausage and mash would just be a plate of sad looking sausages and teenagers everywhere would have to exist without that student staple of baked potato and cheese.
Potatoes come in a wide range of varieties, but the two main types are earlies and maincrop. They're both panted at the same time, but earlies are harvested earlier than maincrops, which tend to be the ones stored over winter.
I only started growing potatoes last year. I always thought they needed masses of room and my garden is tiny. But then I started talking to my nan (who is a genius gardener) and she told me just to use black buckets. I'm not going to write anything about growing potatoes in a vegetable patch because I've never done it.
Officially, you should always buy seed potatoes, which have resistance to viruses. You can get these from markets and garden centres and are around £2 for a pack of ten. However, my nan told me that if you're just growing them in a bucket the you can just use the potatoes from the supermarket. Her tip was to buy a bag of maris piper (or whatever) and fish out all the little ones that would be too fiddly to peel and just plant those.
First I 'chitted' the potatoes. All this means is that I put them in an old egg carton on the window sill for four weeks so they grew little green shoots. When they had sprouted nicely, I put about 15cm of compost into a black bucket (black draws in heat and aids growth), laid two potatoes on the compost with the sprouts facing upwards and covered with another 15cm of compost. I did this on Good Friday - the traditional potato planting day, but you can carry on planting well into summer so you have a supply of potatoes well into the autumn.
I carried on covering up shoots with compost as they emerged as this encourages the plants to produce more potatoes.
I watered the potatoes well (my husband had drilled holes in the bottom of the buckets to allow drainage) and fed with a standard vegetable feed every couple of weeks.
Once they start to flower, the potatoes should be ready. This happens about three months after planting. Poke around in the soil to find the first potato to check and if it seems small give them another couple of weeks.
We got about four kilos of potatoes from two buckets and I just used bog standard old Maris Piper potatoes from the supermarket, but my gosh the taste was something else. They were so creamy and delicious and the skin on them was so thin they only needed a bit of a scrub instead of a peel. I'll definitely be growing my own potatoes again this year.
Potatoes can develop potato blight, which manifests as brown spots on the leaves and stems and then affects the potatoes which then rot. If you act quickly you can apply a fungicide and remove all affected leaves and you might save your crop. This tip comes courtesy of Carol Klein, as I never experienced potato blight when I grew potatoes.
If you have a glut of potatoes, they can be stored in a cool dark place for ages - just make sure they have air to circulate so they don't go mushy.
Summary: Definitely worth a try