Wednesday, 25 March 2020

The spuds are in!

Well, not ALL the spuds. Just the first ones. A significant milestone, nevertheless.

This year, as usual, I'm growing my potatoes in containers - big 35-litre plastic pots, like these:

I find these pots perfect for growing potatoes in. Being quite big they don't dry out too rapidly, but at the same time they are not so huge that I can't shift them around when needed - and you can see that they have handles to make moving them easier. I got them from a company called LBS Horticultural Supplies Ltd.

On this occasion I was planting-up my First Early potatoes, the ones that mature quickly and are harvested as small "new potatoes". I have two tubers each of five varieties: "Pentland Javelin", "Rocket", "Lady Christl", "Colleen" and "Sherine".

The growing-medium I'm using consists of a mix of garden soil, homemade compost and composted stable manure, enhanced with a handful of proprietary potato fertiliser in each pot. When potatoes are grown in pots (which are prone to drying-out if not regularly watered) it is important to incorporate a good proportion of organic matter because the new tubers are likely to develop Scab if their soil is too dry.

I fill the pots only about half-full at first, use a trowel to make suitable holes, then plant the potatoes two to a pot, after which I cover them to a depth of only about 3 inches. Once the plants begin to grow and the shoots emerge I will progressively top up the pots with more of the growing-medium until they are nearly full.

I plant the two seed-tubers fairly close to one another, in the centre of the pot. [Of course the tubers were covered-over after this photo!]

The final part of the process is to cover the pots with my little plastic greenhouses, which will protect them from frost and wind. You'll notice that I have weighted them down with bricks (one at each corner) to stop them blowing away.

Each of those greenhouses covers four pots, though on this occasion I only planted a total of 5 pots-worth (i.e. 10 tubers).

I'll use exactly the same procedure in a couple of weeks' time when I plant the Second Earlies.


  1. Hi Mark,
    I bought a job lot of these pots about 5 years ago.They have a slightly rubberised feel to them and so far the UV hasn't degraded them.Now that I'm back to growing most of my spuds in the open ground (selecting the most slug resistant varieties) the pots are now freed up as containers for flowering plants in the gravel areas of my garden.They seem better at holding moisture compared to standard "plastic" pots.

    1. Yes, I think those pots are pretty good - and very keenly priced too.

  2. WE are thinking of trying to plant some on the plot quickly before a total lock down is imposed.


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