The recent warmer, dry weather has come at just the right time and has made the annual potato planting a very pleasant task.
I grow all of my potatoes in bags or containers now for a number of reasons. Mainly as it’s cleaner for showing certain varieties, doesn’t take any room up in the beds and I can fill in with the bags wherever I can, and lastly it saves my back when it comes to harvesting! The bags are 17 litre polypots from LBS garden warehouse with a couple of extra holes cut into the bottom of each one. This will allow the roots to grow out of the bag into the soil.
The bags are then filled with the compost mix and potato fertiliser and watered so the whole bag is damp but not wet through. The chitted seed potato is then plunged to almost the bottom of the bag and covered over. I’ll top up to completely fill the bags once they’ve come through.
The bags are then placed with a couple of inches between them on top of the soil – I usually scrape a shallow trench for them to sit in with a sprinkling of organic slug pellets and blood, fish and bone underneath each bag.
The varieties I’m growing this year are Winston & Sherine for the white potato classes, Kestrel, Amour & Bonnie for the coloured potato classes. I also have Pentland Javelin and Charlotte to go in – I’ll use potato planters and various old compost bags for these. There’ll be around 50 bags by the time I’m finished.
Once the haulms are up I’ll support them and then it’s just about the watering and feeding until the tubers mature. Once they’re ready I’ll cut off the haulms and move the bags under cover and leave for a couple of weeks to let the skins harden. Then they can be removed and checked over for showing keeping them in moist compost until the Show comes round. We eat all the potatoes even Winston which I quite like but many people say is not a great eating spud although it tends to win everytime in the white potato class.