Here at Blas y Tir our farmers grow enough award-winning potatoes and seasonal vegetables that we are able to provide some varieties of potatoes, such as Maris Piper’s, all year round! Now it’s your turn to see whether you can grow your own potatoes!
Potatoes are a great plant to get children involved in gardening and understanding where their food comes from, whether you have a large outdoor space or not. This method takes you through growing early potatoes (new potatoes) from start to finish in containers, meaning you can grow as many or as few potatoes as you want!
Growing potatoes is relatively cheap and can be really fun to do with kids; they can chart the progress of their potato plant, watch the plant grow and have a competition between themselves to see whose potatoes will be the biggest or weigh the most! The step-by-step method below uses chitted potatoes which is easy, quick, and will give you a larger yield (amount) of potatoes.
Let’s see whether we can grow some potatoes together!
You will need (to grow 6 new potato plants):
- 6 unused Blas y Tir Baby Potatoes (dirty loose potatoes will be better, but you can still get a yield from a washed potato)
- 1 empty egg box.
- Up to 3 large solid containers, such as plant pots or buckets dependent on size (we don’t recommend planting more than 3 chitted potatoes in each 40l container). These containers must be opaque and have plenty of drainage in the bottom (you could drill some small holes into the bottom of buckets, or even use empty compost bags as containers).
- A sunny area, on a balcony, patio or in a garden.
- 1 large bag of compost.
- Slug pellets (optional).
- Horticultural Fleece (optional).
- Organic Liquid Fertilised (optional).
Firstly your potatoes will need to be chitted, which is the process that gets the potato ready to be planted.
- Place your 6 unused Baby Potatoes, or dirty loose new potatoes, rose end up into an empty egg box (the rose end is the end with lots of small dents or ‘eyes’ in the skin).
- Store the egg box containing the potatoes in a dry, dark place (under the stairs or in a dark cupboard is perfect).
- Let the potatoes grow ‘shoots’.
- The potatoes are ready to plant when the shoots are 3cm or longer, these potatoes are now called tubers.
- Start by putting a small amount of compost at the bottom of each container, until you have a layer approximately 15-17cm deep. We recommend using fresh compost for this, as the potatoes will have access to the nutrients from the soil, but you can use spent compost as long as you are aware that extra nutrients may need to be added.
- Place up to 3 tubers (chitted potatoes) into a 40l container. These tubers should be on top of the compost you have just laid, with their ‘eyes’ facing upwards. Spread them out, we recommend leaving approximately 30cm between each potato.
- Cover with another layer of compost approximately 15-17cm deep and water sparingly. We want to keep the potato plant moist, but not wet.
- If you have slug pellets to hand you can use these as instructed, although the containers being used should protect a large amount of pests from reaching the potatoes. You can also use horticultural fleece, or similar, should a frost be predicted.
- Your potatoes will need a large amount of water regularly in order to get growing, we recommend watering your potatoes twice a day during the summer months, but make sure to check that the soil is only moist, and never wet.
- If you want to maximise your crop you can feed your potato plant with organic liquid fertiliser, to maximise yields, although this is only optional.
- You may have to put another layer on compost on top of your potatoes until you reach the top of your container, but only add this layer gradually as your plant will need sunlight and air to grow.
- Your early potatoes should take between 10-16 weeks to grow ready for harvesting (depending on the size you want).
- You can tell when you plant is ready to be harvested, as the plant will begin to turn from green to yellow. You can, however, harvest your potatoes before your plant begins to change colour, just try digging around the pot carefully with your hands to see if there are any decent sized potatoes to pick.
- Remember to avoid any green potatoes as these are poisonous!
- For best results eat you early potatoes as soon as you pick them!
- We recommend trying them simply with Welsh butter and mint, so you can savour the flavour. If you want more inspiration of things you can do with your early potatoes, why not visit or recipes page… recipes!