Sunday, 12 May 2013

Spuds, wonderful spuds

Evening all.  After a lovely couple of weeks of sunshine, it's back to being cold and rainy, and the garden seems to have come to a (temporary) grinding halt.  Actually, that's not totally true.  The seeds I've planted are just rather slow coming through which probably means they'll be rather late maturing.  Bare soil is rather boring to look at, but at least it's full of the promise of bounty to come.

Grow your own potatoes
One group of plants that is doing really well however, are the potatoes I got from the Potato Council as part of their free educational "grow your own potatoes" kit for primary schools - which is also available to home educators.

The kit is sent out in February or March, and contains two growing bags, a chitting tray and two different varieties of potato (3 of each).  The object of the exercise is for children to be able to see how their potatoes grow, from starting to chit, through planting, growing and ultimately harvesting and eating.  Varieties received were "Casablanca" and "Rocket".

Planted in early April, both varieties have put on a lot of leaf, leading to us earthing them up again today in the hope of ensuring a good potato crop.

Potatoes can be grown in all sorts of containers, so there's no need for a garden.  You can use growing bags like mine - I saw some in Poundland the other day, which seemed reasonable as they're usually quite a lot more.

Old tyres is another good one - fill one with earth and plant the spuds, then when they've put on about a tyre's height of leaf, add another tyre and fill with soil, leaving just the tops of the leaves poking out.  I believe (although I've not tried this method myself) that you can go up to around 6 tyres high and get a huge crop out of just a few potato tubers.  Many garages are delighted to get rid of a few and if you think they look boring or unsightly, get the kids to help paint them.

Whether you try one of the methods mentioned above, or whether it's large pots, old dustbins (just remember to drill drainage holes in the bottom), or any other reasonable sized container, it's always possible to grow some spuds.  And with food prices rising all the time, there's never been a better time to try growing your own.

Until next time.

1 comment:

  1. if you use tyres, please line them as they leach cadmium and other heavy metals into the soil and the spuds grown in them


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