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How to grow potatoes in pots and containers

Fresh, homegrown potatoes have an extra special flavour and they’re easy to grow once you know how. Whether you have a huge vegetable plot or a tiny courtyard, one of the best ways to grow your own potatoes is in pots or bags. You can move them around to make the most of the sun and, best of all, there’s no digging involved! Here’s how to plant seed potatoes in containers for healthy harvests throughout the year.

You will need:

Step-by-step guide to planting seed potatoes

  1. Arrange a single layer of seed potatoes in trays or empty egg boxes with the rose ends (those with the most ‘eyes’) pointing up.
  2. Place in a cool, well-lit place where there’s no risk of frost. Short, dark green ‘chits’ will form in a few weeks.
  3. Find a sunny spot for your planters and fill the bottom third with compost. 
  4. Carefully add three or four seed potatoes with their shoots pointing up — space them equally apart and not too close to the edges of the container.
  5. Cover with 10cm of compost. 
  6. The first shoots should emerge after 3-4 weeks. Keep topping up the compost as the shoots grow.
  7. In dry weather, water in the early morning or late evening. After about a month, start to add some liquid tomato feed when watering.
  8. When the foliage has grown about 10cm above the top of the container, carefully add more compost around the stems until the container is full. 
  9. Protect your plants from frosts with horticultural fleece.
  10. Your potatoes will be ready to harvest soon after the plants flower. To be extra sure, gently dig in the compost with your hand to check the size. 
  11. Although the foliage will turn yellow and die off when your potatoes are ready, your potatoes can remain in the compost for 2-3 weeks — simply dig them up as you need them. 
  12. Alternatively, tip your container onto a tarpaulin to remove all the potatoes. Allow them to dry before storing in a cool, dry place. 

Best potatoes to grow in containers

Maris Bard seed potatoes from Suttons
Maris Bard potatoes are perfect for growing in containers
Image: Maris Bard seed potatoes from Suttons

A good first early potato to grow is ‘Maris Bard’, which will give you large crops of tasty new potatoes that are ideal served warm with butter or cold in salads. Plant between February and April to harvest from June to July.

A classic second early potato which has an RHS award of garden merit is ‘Pink Fir Apple’. It produces knobbly, long, pink tubers that are delicious in salads. Plant between March and April and harvest in June and July.

For an excellent all rounder, try the main crop variety ‘Maris Piper’. Highly versatile, this spud can be mashed, boiled, roasted, baked or made into chips!Plant between March and early May, to harvest from end-August to October.

And for harvests between October and Christmas, plant late season potatoes at the end of August. Try ‘Charlotte’ for its good blight tolerance and excellent flavour.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to growing your own potatoes in pots and containers. Check out our full range of seed potatoes to find varieties suitable for growing in the ground too. Share your results with us on social media, we love to hear from you!

Lead image: 33cm Potato Pot from Suttons

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