Planting early potatoes in pots

A few weeks ago we put some first early potatoes to chit – Home Guard and Arran Pilot. It is early yet for planting potatoes and we have not started with those destined for outdoors, but we always try an early planting in the greenhouse and aim to produce our first potatoes by the end of April. Planting potatoes in pots may seem like a new and trendy method but it is one with a long history; modest pots of various vegetables have long been grown in greenhouses for an early harvest.

The larger of our greenhouses are unheated but face more or less south and are fixed against a south facing wall so offering reasonable protection. Even so, the recent cold weather was not good for planting so we had to wait for warmer conditions to arrive. As soon as they did, we prepared twenty 15 litre pots – ten for each variety, half filling them with a rich mix of compost, horse compost, and a sprinkling of fish, blood, and bone, and watering them well before allowing them a couple of days in the greenhouse to warm up before planting. We will top these up later with some multipurpose compost as the shoots emerge.

Planting a single tuber per pot

We planted just one tuber per pot; for a 15 litre pot that is, in our experience, quite adequate. For large pots one might use two or even three tubers per pot. If things go well we might still have some small new potatoes by the end of April, otherwise we should have a good harvest going into May. We will be putting more first earlies and some second earlies to chit in a week or so, getting ready for planting in larger pots outdoors when the weather is a bit warmer. Main crop varieties will follow after a further couple of weeks.

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