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Growing Without Planters Or Containers

As the home of potato planters, we obviously promote potato planting in a specifically designed potato planter or container. That said, if you have the time and space, it is possible to grow potatoes without them - in the garden or allotment

Ten top ideas for success!

  1. Find a sunny, frost free, well drained site with good soil. If you're soil is very clayey, heavy or waterlogged then making a raised bed might well be your best option. Dig in plenty of manure or well rotted compost as potatoes are greedy feeders and thirsty drinkers. Potatoes like new soil so try to plant them in a different area every year if possible. They are also an easy way to break in new ground for growing other vegetables or crops.
  2. Turn the soil over to the depth of at least one full spade and break up any clods with back of spade as you go.
  3. Dig furrows to the depth of about 8 inches (20cm) deep and 16 inches (40cm) apart.
  4. It is always advisable to buy certified seed potatoes as they tend to give the highest yield with less disease and will not infect the soil.
  5. Plant the seed potatoes in rows about 10 inches (25cm) apart then cover with 4 inches (10cm) of soil, leaving them to start to grow in the bottom of the shallow trench.
  6. As the potatoes grow, remember to occasionally hoe between the rows and as you do this gradually close furrows around the potatoes and mound soil around the potato plant. However, don’t bury too much of plant at any one time as this can inhibit growth.
  7. After a two to three months, mound about 8 inches (20cm) of soil up their stems thus producing furrows instead of mounds on either side. It is these hilled up areas of soil where the new potatoes will swell up and grow.
  8. As already mentioned your potato plants have a good healthy appetite so top dress with blood and bone or any good all purpose fertiliser. We recommend Westlands’ Organic Potato & Vegetable Feed as a particularly good fertiliser for potatoes (you can see all our compost and fertilisers here). Keep plants moist while growing by watering as required, particularly at the time of flowering.
  9. The biggest yields come by digging potatoes after the vine has fully died back, however you can harvest them any time from when the first small baby potatoes are formed. To harvest use a garden fork, insert it deeply in the furrow beneath the mounded area and simply lift out your potatoes.
  10. When the plants have died back, harvest your potatoes and store in a dark cool place, or better still, start cooking.