Anita Morton - Growing Gardens

Spuds in a bucket all year round

In colder climates, potatoes can only be grown in the warmer months. Were luckier, as spuds will happily grow through the winter for us the only proviso being that your garden gets no or minimal frost.

Potatoes love manure and compost, and digging plenty in before planting will generally provide all the nutrients they need, plus the open soil structure that they like. Dont forget to supplement with sulphate of potash to improve disease resistance.

Never grow spuds in ground that youve recently limed, as the tubers will get scab. Its not fatal, but it is unsightly. As they grow, hill up soil around the plants, and install some stakes-and-string support if the tops look like flopping over. Two varieties that have grown well in the soil for us are Kipfler and Purple Congo.

What about a frosty garden? Spuds will be badly burnt by even a moderate frost, so you will need to keep them sheltered. Grow them in large pots up against the house, a fence or wall, and throw an old sheet or some shadecloth over the top if it looks like a cold night is coming.

Pot growing requires a large container 35cm minimum diameter for each plant and good quality potting mix supplemented with pulverised aged manure. One great advantage is the possibility of making a potato stack cut the base out of a matching pot and sit it inside the first pot. As the potato shoot grows through, gradually add more soil until the second pot is also full. Youll get twice as many potatoes!

Ive even grown spuds hydroponically. If you want to try it, youll need a large, deep pot (recycled plastic drums with holes drilled in the base are good), perlite, packaged complete nutrient mix and a means of collecting the liquid feed at the bottom.


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