isn't only for the urban gardeners. It can also be for those of us who want to maximize potato yields in a controlled environment. Not only does growing potatoes in planters reduce your weeding it also reduces exposure to soil-borne pests and diseases such as eelworm and scab. There is also no risk of spade damage to your potatoes, you can just tip them out of your planters. Potatoes from planters are also great fun for the children while giving you opportunity to try lots of different varieties of potatoes without getting them muddled up and without having to worry about crop rotation. The number of tubers you can plant in planters will depend on the size of your planters as well as the vigour of the variety. Three in our Banbury planter would be about right.
Plants for your Planters
To help you select the best plants for your planters. Here is a list of two hundred plants, with pictures, for planters listed by colour & season
- Put a layer, 5-10cm deep, of 'crocks' in the base of your planters to ensure good drainage. You could also use chunky bits of polystyrene packaging if you do not have any crocks or coarse gravel.
- Add 4-10cm of growing medium (depending on the depth of the planter). Place the tubers on this, equally spaced around the edge of the planter. Cover with 10-20cm of growing medium. As the potato shoots grow, add more growing medium. Continue this "earthing up" until the growing medium is 4-5cm below the rim of the planter.
Use a good quality potting compost - either purchased or home made. If using a large planter, a loam, or green-waste compost, based material would be preferable. Fertile garden soil, enriched with garden compost, well-rotted manure, or an organic fertiliser such as chicken manure pellets, for example. Although it is heavier than a loam free mix, it will make watering easier.
It is also important to select the correct types of potato to grow in your planters. The varieties that work best are first and second earlies and they will have cropped before late summer when the threat of potato blight arrives. Having said that, other people use maincrop varieties successfully, though it is probably advisable to use a variety that does not produce very large tubers. Salad potatoes work especially well.