The Cottage Smallholder

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Potato plans for 2010


Photo: Some of Danny's 2009 spuds

Photo: Some of Danny's 2009 spuds

“What do you think of my new bag?”
I could see that Danny was fumbling for a polite response.
“Well it’s ethnic…”
In fact I was modelling a potato bag . Our local garden centre had them on offer 3 for the price of 2 so I snapped them up.

Danny will be growing potatoes again this year. He’s organised to get seed potatoes from a farming friend. But these will be main crop potatoes and I have a yearning to grow some first earlies. I chose Swift – these can be ready to eat in just 7 weeks.  These will be followed a blight resistant strain – Lady Balfour

Some friends grew spuds in bags last year with great results. A local gardening couple grow theirs in an old dustbin (with holes drilled in the base) and apparently they get loads.

Also these bags mean that I won’t have to sacrifice more border space as they can be set in a sunny spot anywhere in the garden. The bags can be used over and over again. I was delighted with my plans until I checked my email and found that Harrod Horticultural are offering three bags and 15 organic seed potatoes for £13.99  – far less than I had shelled out for 3 bags and 20 seed potatoes. But taking account of the postage they would cost about the same.

I’d bought two mini packs of seed potatoes. Three will go in each bag and I’m going to experiment with the rest using home made containers. There are lots of good suggestions and practical advice for making your own containers here . I also found this useful free growing guide on the Unwin’s site.

Even though I’ve ordered all my seed on line I hadn’t considered buying seed potatoes or bags on the Internet. So I had a bit of a sniff around.

Suttons have a kit of three bags and 15 seed potatoes for £14.95.

Amazon has a good range ofpotato planters here.

Crocus has three bags on special offer for just £9.99 not including the seed potatoes.

As this is my first venture into growing spuds in containers any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Don’t forget our latest gardening competion ends midnight this Sunday.

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  1. I buy heritage potatoes from and grow them in old tyres from a garage, they’re only too willing to give them to you for free and you just add another tyre to earth them up 🙂

  2. Probablynathan

    This is my first season growing potatoes, not knowing any better I just put a few in the ground and let them go, they are growing vigorously and I’m excited to start harvesting soon. It is interesting to learn more resourceful and productive methods that I will have to try next season. Thanks.

  3. A last minute gift of organic seed potatoes last year had us scrambling for containers. We had a couple of laundry baskets that were ready for the dump so I lined them with black plastic trash bags, poked a bunch of holes and filled them with our rather casual container mix. I think I put three in each and we got several pounds of potatoes from the two baskets. I would rather not rely on the plastic bags which aren’t really reusable and definitely ugly but the setup worked well enough. And I think I read that some tires might have heavy metal contamination. Maybe that’s the issue.

  4. Suttons have pink potato bags at the moment too where 10% goes to breast cancer charity 🙂

  5. new potatoes with butter…. hmmm bring it on!

  6. this is all very interesting to me as this will be the first year I’ve tried to grow potatoes. I may have overdone it on the seed potato order, but don’t tell anyone, least not my husband….

  7. I have grown spuds in containers for years. From 1 potato in a large flowerpot to 3 – 5 in a potato grower, I think, from Harrod H. I have used special seed potatoes and sprouted salad potatoes from the veg rack! All with varying degrees of success, but there is nothing like the flavour of tiny new potatoes straight from the pot. I have even grown them in a tub the sunroom for Christmas dinner!

  8. I’ve been growing potatoes successfully for the past two years in tyres. Garages are very keen to be rid of them. Each stack of tyres – about 4 will grow about 4-5 seed potatoes. You just add tyres as the foliage grows. However I think I read somewhere that this method is not an approved permaculture method so I have to do some research as I am learning about and trying to follow permaculture ways.

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