A purple pot of potatoes

Last year we bought a very large, very purple plastic pot from the tip shop. Its ultimate fate is to be a home for one of our citrus trees, but they are all still too small to warrant a move to a pot this size. So the pot has sat untouched until a few weeks ago.

To be honest the colour was pretty confronting when we bought the pot (nothing that another coat of paint couldn’t fix) but we’ve rather grown fond of it over time. Indeed the colour actually contrasts very nicely with the lush greens of the veggie garden.

I recently found a use for the pot when I uncovered these unbelieveably skanky potatoes, dug up earlier in the year from our garden and then forgotten. I know that the pundits recommend starting each potato crop with fresh seed potatoes, but my inner Scot got the better of me and I decided to rescue these long suffering spuds.

Skankypotatoes

I think some are Pink Eyes and I’m not sure about the others – possibly Bismarcks.

Potato1

As the pot is quite deep I decided to plant the potatoes in the very bottom of the pot and then build up the layers of soil and straw as the plants grow. The idea is that the more the stems are covered the greater the number of potatoes the plants should produce.

It is quite popular to grow potatoes this way in a stack of old tyres filled with soil, adding a new tyre as the plant grows. However I read an article in Organic Gardener magazine some time ago (sorry I can’t find the specific reference at present), that suggested re-considering this approach as there was an indication of the tyre compounds leaching out or breaking down into the soil. Neither nice or healthy.

Potato2

As you can see it wasn’t long before my dodgy spuds responded to a bit of attention and started to shoot through the first layer of soil and straw.

Potato3

And then they really took off!

Potato4

This photo was taken about wo weeks ago and I will need to apply a final layer very soon as the plants are now well about the rim of the pot. The true test of this experiment will come once we finally harvest these spuds to see whether we just grew a good crop of leaves or a great crop of potatoes. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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