How to grow potatoes in pots

potatoes 1.pngIf you’ve never tasted home grown spuds then you ain’t lived yet!

They’re much nicer than the bland things you buy at the supermarket. They’re full of flavour and mail order catalogues have heaps of different varieties to suit boiling, baking, chipping or mashing so there’s plenty to choose from.

I have 2 sorts of potatoes: some small desire potatoes that were left over from last year’s crop and some pontiacs that I picked up at my local produce store (Cumberland produce http://www.cumberlandproduce.com.au/ ) for $2 per kilo – bargain! Cut any large ones in half and leave them all out in the sun to shoot before planting them.

You can grow them very well in a pot, a fairly large one, but nonetheless it’s still a pot. I’ve always grown mine in the ground and sometimes they don’t do too well. If we’ve had an extended period of rain, my clay soil stays quite damp and my spuds have often rotted in the ground. So this year I’m trying them in pots. I’m experimenting with a new Greensmart pot http://www.greensmartpots.com.au/ and also an old recycling tub that was lying around the garage storing last years’ pool toys & floaties.

potatoes 2.pngI gave the recycle tub a good clean up since the pool things left a lot of salt water and pool residues. It’s a good size and it already has drainage holes in the bottom, so it’s ideal.

The Greensmart pot is a food grade plastic, UV stabilised and great for organic veggie gardening. It acts like a self watering pot with a tray in the base that collects water so the plant gets watered from the bottom up rather than from the surface. A neat little pipe at the side shows you where the water level is and lets you know when it needs a top up. Watering can be done through this pipe alone.

Pot 1 – Greensmart:
Dimensions are 700 x 450 mm
Number of seed potatoes planted = 4

Pot 2 – Recycle tub:
Dimensions are 650 x 400 mm
Number of seed potatoes planted = 3

Plant them into the pots with good quality organic potting mix that’s suitable for vegetables. Plant them deep in the pot with a layer of potting mix below as well as above to cover them, but don’t fill the pot completely with potting mix yet. Leave room to top it up as the plant grows.

It’s taken about a month to get them to this stage now and the leaves have reached the top of the pot. Now it’s time to top up the pot with more potting mix or compost. Keep the growing tip above the soil at all times to lengthen the stems. The idea is to keep the stems covered and the spuds will develop all the way along them. Potatoes are actually stem tubers not really root vegetables so they produce tubers (the spuds we eat) on the stem.

So I’m off to top up my potting mix and I’ll keep you posted with more progress later.

potatoes 3.png