Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes and sweet potatoes take a lot of space when they grow so are usually avoided by people with small gardens, or those who grow in pots.  But there is a way around most things and potatoes are no exception. Even in the ground, potatoes need to be mounded, which simply means you have to keep covering the tubers as they form so that they are not exposed to sunlight.  This works to our benefit in small spaces as you can achieve the mounding effect by adding soil to a container and forcing the plants higher and higher.  Potato bags are available and are ideal if you are growing on a balcony or a small area with pots.  The bags usually have a side flap which can be opened, and the potatoes harvested from the bottom.



I am always on the look-out for ways to recycle and realised an old pool pump cover would be perfect as a potato planter.  I removed the lid and placed it under a tree and planted some sprouting potatoes in the bottom.  When the first leaves appeared, I added compost and continued to do so as the plants grew higher which forces them to grow more. Baby potatoes are ready to pick when the flowers first form, but I leave them until the flowers and leaves are wilting and harvest large potatoes.

This year I am going to try sweet potatoes.  Previously I planted them in an old dustbin, which wasn’t very successful.  I punched holes in the bottom but there wasn’t enough drainage and the potatoes rotted.  If I had cut the bottom of the bin off it would have worked better, but it now works well as a compost bin.

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