March 1st: it should have been a presage of spring but after a wonderful bright day yesterday, we woke up to ‘mist and murk’, wind and rain again. I cancelled the usual Tuesday workday as it was very wet outdoors. Instead, four of us met for tea inside in the warm at Diane’s and brainstormed ideas for planting for 2016.
2016 is going to be our pot potatoes year: we’re going to try growing potatoes in pots and bags. As none of us has done this before, we’re looking for guidance and here is wonderful Monty Don, showing how to plant potatoes in dustbins using mostly garden compost. Fantastic!
One of the things which puts me off growing veg in containers is the need to buy potting compost and replace it each year. But ‘garden’ compost: we have plenty thanks to our community composting scheme. I think we even have a spare dustbin.
I’m always concerned about the size and nature of the container. Too small and veg plants just go all cramped, pinched and resentful; too big – well, we just don’t have room for too big. But here’s Sarah Raven to the rescue, suggesting you can use inside-out thick compost bags. We’ve got loads of those. As growing medium, she suggests using one third ‘molehills‘ and two thirds proprietary compost. Hmm, pity we don’t have moles round London Road Station but perhaps we can think about a visit to the Downs?
And here’s a site which suggests you can use the giant ‘ton’ soil delivery bags for as many as 9-12 potatoes. We’ve got at least three of these bags hanging around. All you have to do is: ” … fold down the sides of the bag, fill the bottom with compost, and plant your potatoes. You shouldn’t need to make holes in the bag, because of its size, and the fabric’s ability to let excess water through.”
Yet another site talks about planting up to 6 potatoes in 40 litres of compost. They suggest using potato fertiliser too: 135g for each 40 litre bag. You put 4 inches of compost into the bottom of the bags, place the seed potatoes 4 inches from the edge of the bag, scatter the fertilizer around the potatoes and then cover with up to 6 inches of compost. But then the video on the same site talks about planting 5 seed potatoes with 35 litres of compost and 45 gr of potato fertilizer.
And here’s yet another video which suggests you can use a mix of old grow bag soil, garden compost, blood fish and bone fertilizer and rock dust as your growing medium and large shopping bags as your container. This video warns against using the ‘ton’ bags as they may get too moist
But here’s my favourite: it shows growing 2-3 seed potatoes in 30 litre pots – and a very surprised gardener finding that his first pot of sarpo mira potatoes gives a harvest of 13.4 lb.
Yes, I think we can do this …