I quite fancy having a go at growing some potatoes, in a container.
Any suggestions on which variety?
I`d be more inclined to grow a salad or a potato for baking etc rathe
than one for mashing/chips etc to appreciate the flavour.
Using larger planter pots and/or barrel halves, I've grown several
varieties in containers (in the Pacific Northwest, Portland area, U.S.A.,
similar climate to London most of the time). It's a good way to discover
what you like best (you know exactly what it is when it's harvested!). Of
the several varieties grown here, there doesn't seem to be a better or
less good, just personal preference. Mine include butterball, fingerling,
reds, a couple varieties of blues, etc., experiment. When you visit the
farmers markets in the summer/fall, buy some and save a couple of what you
like best and plant them in the spring; one seed company employee said her
mother planted on Presidents' Day. Of the ones I planted in the ground in
2000, I still have plants coming up all over the garden (rototiller
spreads them around) which I've relocated or marked for fall harvesting.
- Large containers
- 15-20 inches of soil (lots of natural compost/manure) beneath the seed
(at least a foot)
- Four to six inches of soil on top of the seed (looser can be six, but
"tighter" should be closer to four)
- As a layer of generous leaves appear, keep adding soil to increase
production, always leaving ample leaf surface to absorb sun and air (4-6
inches of leaves above the soil line seems adequate for us)
Most important is water:
- Be sure you have allow for ample drainage at the bottom of the container
- Be certain to keep them well watered (soaked once a week or so)
throughout the growing season, remember, they are in containers and have
no opportunity to find any moisture that is in the ground.
Harvesting is Soho easy in the fall!
Some folks add straw instead of soil as the potatoes grow. However, that
did not work for me at all, it was too coarse and actually reduced the
yield in those containers. As always, your mileage may vary. Great thing
about gardening, there's lots of room for experimentation; also, what
works well one year may not the next and vice versa.
Good luck and have fun.
(One potato only? Try one of the blues, if only for the effect on the
How long is your piece of string?
Ah! not the same as mine,
The answer to your actual question is...
How big is your container?
How good is your compost?
How well do you water? Quantity and timing.
I have in the past harvested thirty to forty tubers from a single tuber
planted in a large barrel. (Salad potato)
Weight wise about four kilograms from a single tuber (Baking potato)
Harvest from a container is easily comparable to open ground cropping,
however requires more observation and intervention, watering/feeding. Open
ground requires more effort digging/weeding.
If you have space and time available, try both styles at once and run your
Hope this helps your decisions
I saw an article in Mother Earth News some years back about a fellow
that planted potatoes in a stack of old tires. When they were ready to
harvest he just tumped them over and harvested the crop.
I am going to use white oak Kentucky whiskey barrel halves this year.
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