Go potty for potatoes

You don’t need a big garden to grow potatoes, writes Rachel Phillips Street - project coordinator for the Shropshire Master Composters - as she shares her tips on container-grown potatoes and the joy of Potato Days
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Potatoes can be grown in pots if space is tight

We’ve been enjoying the Potato Day season with lots of events dedicated to seed potatoes and how to grow them. These are fantastic get-togethers because they give you a chance to pick up unusual, sometime organic varieties of potatoes and learn more about potato growing.

The Shropshire Organic Gardeners celebrated their 20th anniversary Potato Day in style in February - with special guest Alys Fowler making an appearance! The event, supported by our Shropshire Master Composters, saw more than 500 people turn up to buy their favourite spuds, with the horticulturalists and journalists opening proceedings. Leftover potatoes from the day were donated to local schools.

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Gardener and writer Alys Fowler cuts the ribbon at the Shropshire Potato Day

How to grow potatoes in a pot 🔗

Potatoes are happy growing in a large pot from March to June, and it’s a great alternative if you only have a patio or balcony, or want to save space.

1. Choose a big pot, around 30-40 litres. A large sturdy bag, bucket or old trug will do as long as it has holes in the base for drainage. Place in a frost-free, sunny place outdoors.

2. Add a layer of peat-free compost to the bottom of the pot and add three chitted seed potatoes. Cover with compost and water.

3. When you spot shoots, cover with more compost - and continue covering until you’ve reached the top of your pot.

4. Your potatoes should be ready to harvest once they’ve flowered. Dig down with a trowel to test the size of your spuds. If they’re a good size, tip out the contents of the pot and enjoy your harvest. Reuse the compost for growing salads, or pop the spent compost in the compost heap, if you have one.

5. You can also sow potatoes in bags in August for a Christmas crop!

If you haven’t got chitting yet, read our head gardener Emma’s blog about how to chit your potatoes

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Potato Days can help you pick up some unusual varieties to grow
Composting waste

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