The potato plant has sustained our nation
for millennia and it’s an invaluable crop within the garden. Now there are
lots of different ways to grow the humble potato plant and each of them
works really well. But in this episode I’m gonna give you seven reasons for
growing potato plants in your containers. I’m Tony O’Neill and this is UK Here We
Grow on this channel we deal with all things gardening poultry keeping and
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bell icon to be notified each time I release new content just like this. You
can ask any gardener who grows his own food which vegetable that they have to
grow every single year and the humble potato plant will probably be in the top
three. And the reason for this is because they are fantastic for the amount of
effort that’s put into them. They grow really well, and they produce tubers that
can be stored right throughout the year to allow you to be able to eat through
the winter. And this is an ideal situation for the gardener because
that’s where we ideally want to be is to be able to grow enough food to last us
until next year, and it’s ideal for those people who want to be more
self-sufficient. Over the years I have grown potatoes in loads of different
ways. I’ve grown potatoes in buckets, I’ve
grown potatoes in bags and I’ve grown potatoes in the ground. But my most
preferred method of growing potatoes is in containers. So why do I like growing
potatoes in containers so much? Well there are seven reasons why I prefer it,
and why you should consider growing potatoes in containers too. Number one
so the traditional way of growing potatoes is that you would typically dig
a trench and then you would lay some manure in that trench and some feed, and
then you would place any potatoes into that trench and then you would backfill that trench. Later on you would have to mound up that trench. That’s a huge amount of work and it’s back-breaking, and not everybody can
bend over and dig these trenches. And it’s just not for me. Now growing
potatoes in containers mean that you can either put the container on
the ground, there is no digging, or you can lift it up onto a counter. And you
can then start to plant your potatoes. So simple as putting in a little bit of
compost and some feed and you seed potatoes, and then filling the container
right the way up. And you’re done. Apart from feeding and watering throughout the year
that’s it. Whereas with the traditional method of digging trenches you have to
keep revisiting and hoeing up the potatoes to keep them safe, and to stop
them from popping up the surface. Now I know some people that grow in containers
they plant them as if they would with a trench. They put a little bit of soil put
the potato and wait for it to grow then put some more in wait for it to grow
there’s no need for none of that just fill the containers right up and you’re
done. Number two. You can plant the potatoes
much earlier. Now potatoes are not frost hardy, so you
have to wait when you’re planting outside in trenches, to be able to plant
the seed, because if the haulms come up and the frost hits them, then it kills
the top of the potato off. Now with planting in containers, you can literally
plant early as you like, and you can leave them inside a greenhouse or
polytunnel. And when the haulms come through you can cover them over with
fleece when the threat of frost appears. And the great thing about this, if you
have a nice day like this, that will typically gain early spring. But is cold
you can still move them out if you wish to to get some more Sun. But keeping them
in the greenhouse or the polytunnel is the best bet. And when all frost is past
then we can move them out. Now frost dates they are different for every single place
on the planet. And you would have to judge yours by that frost date. But
typically, it would give you about 4 or 5 weeks worth of growth before you could
plant them out in the soil. That’s a huge advantage. Tip number three.
Now when grown in containers the soil warms up much quicker, and that’s because
they’re black in color and they absorb the heat much better. And because they are outside
of the ground. They are not trying to heat up all of the area.
It’s just heating up what’s inside here, so it’s much quicker, and that gives the
potatoes more time to establish. It also restricts the root growth within the
container. And that means that the plant has no option but to absorb the water
and the nutrients that you’ve put in that container. Now by planting in the
ground, those root zones are free to roam, and they can be pushed out past the feed
zone sometimes. So the plant may not necessarily be taking up all the
nutrients that it could possibly be taking up. And if you don’t what I’m
saying to you. I’ll put a link in the description and up here for you which
will show you an experiment that I performed last year. And I was able to
double the yield over potatoes grown in a container, over in the ground. And it is a
a massive eye-opener for anybody who typically grows in the ground. Now I know
some of you will disagree with me on this. But I have been able to show over a number of years that that is the case. And I have the video footage to show
that. And the reason I can say this with confidence is because I ran that same
experiment for three years. I have all the videos on the playlist for you to be
able to watch. So make sure you go and have a view of those after this video.
Number four. Although you may not think it, watering is much more efficient
because you’re only watering the root zone and the plant can take up what is
required because of the root zone is compressed. And it also has a smaller
surface area. Which means that there’s less evaporation for the water to go. In
the ground soil wicks the water away from the root zone. And there’s also a
bigger area for evaporation, and when it comes to watering you may not even be
watering the root zone, because the plant’s root zone is free to go in all
directions. So you may not be applying water where
it’s required. Number 5. You’re less likely to catch disease also. Now there
are loads of diseases for potatoes, such as Alternario now Alternario is a soil
born disease is otherwise known as early blight. And there are loads of other soil
borne diseases and pests such as wireworm, that you can cut out the equation
altogether when growing in containers. Instead. In containers, you’re using
compost. Whether that’s shop bought or homemade. And over the years I’ve had
loads of you come to me and say, “wow what an expensive way to grow potatoes”. but I
will put a link in the description below to my last compost video. Where I show
you how to make all the homemade compost you could need at home. And this is
high-quality compost. And you can use that to fill these containers, which is
totally free from your own garden. Now even if you had to buy your compost
because you didn’t have it to start with. That’s still a good investment, and the
reason for that is that you can reuse this medium over and over again.
Providing you haven’t had blight. And all you need to do is put an additional feed
into the compost because after all, it’s just a medium. And once you can no longer
use it for potatoes, or it’s not giving you the growth that you would require.
Then you can put it into your garden beds. And by putting it in your garden
beds, that’s improving this soil structure in your garden as well. So
those who tell me that it’s a waste to buy compost and use it this way, just
don’t understand how the garden is supposed to work synergistically with itself.
Number six. Now if you’ve had storms like we’ve had this year in the UK. Then all
the other gardeners around you are catching blight. You can simply pick up
your containers and take them back to the greenhouse or the polytunnel.
And that will help to prevent blight. If you’re in the garden, you can’t do that.
They are tied to the ground, you can’t just lift them and
take them somewhere. Not only that. When they’re in containers if you need some
spare space in a bed or something like that. You can simply just pick them up
and move them. Or even put them onto a the patio where you wouldn’t normally be
able to grow crops, and then that would free up beds for other things. They are
fantastic, especially if you were short of space. Number seven. Last but not least
is the harvest. Now when growing in the ground. You’ve got
all the back-breaking work that you had from putting them in. Because it’s just
the reverse of putting them in. You have to dig them all out, and I hate this and
I tell you why. You usually stab half of the potatoes with the fork or cut them
in half with a spade. Or you miss them entirely, which means that your crop is
less, and you get volunteer potatoes next year coming up in areas of the garden you
don’t want them to. With containers, it’s much, much easier. You can either pick the
container up and put it into a wheelbarrow. Or you can just tip it over
where it stands. And it’s easy to pull out all the potatoes. None are missed, and
None are stabbed. So you get a fantastic crop, and you’ve got clean compost with no
potato tubers coming up in ground that you don’t want next year. After harvest,
we can think about drying off the potatoes and storing them. Now, I have a video which I’ll put below, which shows you exactly how you can store your own
potatoes right through the winter, so that you can eat them until the next
harvest. And how to save your own seed potatoes too. Which will save you
money next year when it comes to buying seed potatoes. Because they are very
expensive to buy. And if you can save your own, well that’s just a bargain.
Because those plants are already acclimatized to this area. Question of
the day. How do you grow your potatoes and why? Let’s get some conversation
starting below, so that all the new growers around can make a more informed
decision on how they feel is the best way to grow potatoes is. We already know why
I prefer containers. But I admit, that growing potatoes can be done in almost
any way. And the ground is very good. I just like the double yields I get out of
the containers. And how much easier it is for my efforts.
Now if you’ve enjoyed this video you can subscribe here! And if you want to see
the results to the Ground over the Container experiment, then that video is
right here for you, I’m Tony O’Neill this is UK Here We Grow. And remember
folks. You Reap What You Sow! I’ll see you in the next one. bye-bye