All potatoes grow well in bags or containers, and you’ll find a great range of varieties in our garden centre shops. First and second earlies would do best in bags, while maincrop can be grown in one of the larger bins. Mound up by adding extra soil as the tips start to show.
- First earlies: late March
- Second earlies: early to mid April
- Maincrop: mid-late April
When you get your seed potatoes in February, set them out (shoots uppermost) in egg boxes or wooden containers containing 1” dry peat. Store them in a light (but not sunny) frost-free position, and in about 6 weeks there will be several sturdy 1/2” – 1” shoots. Do not damage any of these sprouts. Chitting is useful for potatoes but is not essential.
Plant the potatoes 5” deep 12 – 15” apart depending on whether they’re first earlies or maincrop. Plant about halfway into the bin, or if you’re using a bag, roll it down halfway to start with, and roll it up gradually as the plants grow. Add soil as the shoots appear at the top. This will have the same effect as earthing up, and should supply you with a larger crop of potatoes. Water your potatoes liberally in dry weather – this is especially important once the tubers have started to form.
To harvest your earlies, wait until the flowers or buds wither, then carefully remove soil from a small part of the ridge and examine the tubers. They’ll be ready for harvesting when they reach the size of a hen’s egg. In the case of maincrops, cut off the withered stems, remove them and wait for 10 days. Then lift the roots and let the tubers dry out for several hours. For storage, place them into a wooden box and store them in a dark frost-free room or shed, where they should keep until spring.