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Lockdown Project Guides: Grow Seed Potatoes in Pots & Containers

Homegrown seed potatoes are one of the most satisfying crops to grow in the garden. It’s quite easy to produce a good crop and they taste so much better than those from the shops.

One of the easiest ways to grow potatoes is in a container, where you can control its position and watering, and there’s no digging involved! Try growing first early potatoes (also known as ‘new’ potatoes) – plant February-April and harvest June-July for small, waxy-fleshed delicious potatoes.

planting out chitted potatoes
Growing potatoes is straightforward and rewarding

Without any further ado, here’s your guide to achieving spectacular spuds in 10 simple steps

print the potato growing guide

Difficulty:       Moderate

Duration:       15 minutes

What You Will Need

Plenty of Seed Potatoes

A good, all-round potato to grow at this time is Maris Bard, which will give you large crops of tasty new potatoes, ideal for salads, roasted or as chips.

Potato Planting Pots or Containers

These purpose made pots are the easy way to grow your own potatoes – harvest by lifting the inner pot out.

Compost

Container-grown potatoes benefit from a multipurpose compost, such as Moorland Gold Natural Peat Alternative, which is also Vegan friendly.

Method

Prepare your seed potatoes

Seed potatoes in a chitting tray
Seed potatoes chitting in a tray
  • Step 1: Your seed potatoes will arrive a few weeks before they need planting, to give plenty of time for ‘chitting’ – the production of shoots.
  • Step 2: Unpack them and arrange in a single layer in shallow trays or empty egg boxes with the rose ends (those with the most ‘eyes’) pointing up.
  • Step 3: Place in a cool, well-lit place where there is no risk of frost. Short, dark green ‘chits’ will form in a few weeks.

Plant your seed potatoes

planting seed potatoes in a container
Use almost any container to plant seed potatoes
  • Step 4: In February or March, once the frosts have passed, position your empty planters in a sunny spot where you want to grow your potatoes. Add compost to your planter to form a layer at least 10cm deep.
  • Step 5: Carefully position three or four seed potatoes on top of the compost with their shoots pointing up – space them equally apart and not too close to the edges of the container.
  • Step 6: Cover them with 10cm of compost on top. Make sure there is space left at the top of the pot to add more compost later (see next step). You’ll need to protect your potatoes from frosts with horticultural fleece.

Growing potatoes on

seed potatoes growing in pot
See potato shoots emerge after 3-4 weeks
  • Step 7: The first shoots should emerge after 3-4 weeks. It’s now time to add more compost to cover these shoots except for the very tips, which should stick out.
  • Step 8: In dry weather, water in the early morning or late evening. After they have been growing for about a month, start to add some liquid tomato feed when watering.
  • Step 9: After a few weeks, the green shoots will push up through the compost again. Wait until they have grown about 10cm above the top of the container and then carefully add more compost around the stems so that the container is almost full of compost (leave room for watering). Continue to protect them from frosts with horticultural fleece.
container grown potatoes
Feed and water your potatoes regularly

Harvest your delicious new seed potatoes!

  • Step 10: First earlies (new potatoes) should be ready to eat 8-12 weeks from planting – usually your potatoes will be ready to harvest when the plants flower. To be extra sure, gently dig in the compost with your hand and you will be able to feel the size of the potatoes. Once large enough, start your harvest!
harvesting potatoes
Harvest when the potato plant is in flower

What Next?

Potato storage

Although the plant tops will turn yellow and die off, your potatoes will store in the compost for 2-3 weeks – simply dig them up as you need them, for tasty fresh potatoes anytime.

Try some different varieties of seed potatoes

Any of our first and second earlies, as well as salad type potatoes, will do well in grow bags or pots.

We hope you have enjoyed the first of our lockdown project guides and be sure to stay tuned as there a plenty more to come this month! Next week is all about mushrooms!

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