Having moved house to a new-build property in mid 2013, I have decided to make the garden productive. Those of you who follow my Blipfoto gallery will have seen some of the developments in the garden during 2014.
There are quite a few gardening projects under way, one of which is growing New Potatoes in a tub. The story starts in late February 2014 when I visited the local garden centre and left with a pack of First Early Seed Potatoes and a Potato planter..
Those of you familiar with growing potatoes know that they need to be “chitted” prior to planting, so with a few egg boxes and a light airy place the seed potatoes were laid out to sprout. Reading the instructions for the potato plant also showed that I would need another one. So by mid March with the potatoes sprouted sufficiently, it was another trip to the garden centre for a second planter and some peat free compost and then to plant the seed potatoes in a layer of said peat free compost.
For the next few weeks, very little was seen to happen.
However into April the potatoes leaves broke the surface and the process of earthing up commenced. When you are using a planter, it is a simple case of topping it up every so often. On the first occaision, I just used top soil with a handful of potato fertiliser, however subsequently I used a 50/50 mixture of topsoil and composted bark with potato fertiliser.
By mid May the leaves had reached the top of the planter and earthing up had been completed.
Now it was a case of continuing to water on those day it did not rain.
Finally, a decision had to be made about whether they were ready to harvest.
Inspection through one of the hatches at the bottom showed some reasonable sized potatoes, so I decided to harvest one of the planters. So the morning of 5 July arrived.
Once the leaves and stalks were removed, the soil and compost in the planter was removed and checked for potatoes. In total there were just over 2 kg of potatoes from this planter from the 5 seed potatoes that I started with.
The soil and compost has been retained for earthing up the potatoes next year, when it will be suitably enriched with an appropriate fertiliser, and the vegitation has been consigned to the compost bin.
This batch of potatoes will be converted into potato salad in the next day of so.
Was it worth it? I think so, not only has it provided some home grown food, but it also gives a means of relaxation when I get home from a day at the office.