Tips for Success (Spring 5)
- Large pots can often be obtained from landscapers who plant shrubs and trees regularly. Local firms should be able to help.
- Alternatively, potatoes can be grown in dustbins, carrier bags and in old potting compost or fertiliser sacks. Remember to make drainage holes in bins and sacks.
- Green waste compost is made from the garden waste collected by councils. It is composted professionally, to ensure cleanliness, and is ideal for gardens where home-made compost is in short supply. Availability depends on the area. Sometimes it is possible to collect from the composting site free of charge, sometimes bags have to be purchased from garden centres. Enquire at your local recycling centre about your local system.
- Potatoes can be bought from garden centres. They can also be bought mail order – the Organic Gardening Catalogue has a wonderful selection. If you want to buy single tubers, look for a ‘Potato Day’ event near you. These have become very popular in recent time.
- To decide how many potatoes you want, measure your potato patch, then work out how many potatoes will fit in the area. Spacing should be 30cm between each potato, and 60cm between each row.
- ‘Chitting’ is when seed potatoes are allowed to produce sturdy little sprouts indoors for a few weeks, before being planted outside in the soil. It gives them a head start.
- Seed potatoes need light, but not direct sunlight, and cool, but not cold, temperatures. Sheds are usually too cold. A windowsill of a north-facing room is ideal. In icy weather, you may need to bring the potatoes away from the glass. Avoid knocking off the little sprouts – these are the growing points for the potatoes.