Growing Super Early Potatoes for the Hungry Gap
This is part of a series of videos covering ways to make the hungry gaps quite a lot more abundant. This video covers early/late potatoes.
I’m growing all of my potatoes in tubs this year!
These are the steps I follow:
- Save your own potatoes (Swift and Charlotte in my case) so that you can start chitting them early. Store them outside in a frost free place (only if disease free)
- Bring them inside onto a cool bright window sill in December
- Plant your first batch in mid-January, plant the potato 4-6″ from the bottom of the tub. Keep the tub in the house somewhere (no light needed) until you see the leaves break the surface, then move to a polytunnel/greenhouse and cover with several layers of fleece if frost threatens!
- Repeat the above, keep chitting and planting every two weeks, transitioning from earlies, to second earlies to main crop
- Stop planting in May (main crops, planted into the same pots/compost – now harvested – that you started in January/February, replenished with more fertilizer
- Start planting in August and then again September (planted into the same pots/compost that you started in March, replenished with more fertilizer
- Keep the August/September planted ‘Christmas’ potatoes in their tubs until you need them, cutting back/pulling out then stalks once they’ve died back from age or blight
If you are new to my allotment videos you might find a bit of context useful. We live in the north west of England, in Lytham St Annes, which I believe is the equivalent of USA Zone 8.
We have three allotments in my family, mine (Steve), my wife’s (Debbie) and my middle daughter’s (Jennie). We also have a small kitchen garden at home. They are all managed in an integrated fashion, so don’t expect to see the usual mix of veg on each plot. I do most of the planning and seed starting. We each have our own plots, but we all help each other out.
On Jennie’s plot, we focus on fruit trees, beans, squash, alliums, and brassicas. This video provides an overview https://youtu.be/q1k-2vIoSQ8. I do an update of the allotments, roughly one a week, you can find the tours here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFhKoRR-NiCJn5Y6rZf0RCCqycu3xvofX.
Our approach to allotment life is to: grow as much as we possibly can, to be self-sufficient in veg all year round and in fruit in season, to give away our huge surplus to friends and family, and to have as much fun as possible.
My wife and I spend about 4 hours a day, 4 days a week on the plots (on average) and we keep nudging that down as we eliminate non-productive work: like grass cutting, weeding and watering as much as practical. We are both newbie gardeners, only starting the allotments in 2016.
I’m a bit obsessive about the nutrient density of the veg that we grow and making the plots easy to work because it’s through this allotment lifestyle and food that I’ve overcome a debilitating auto-immune disease.
I’m always aware though that it might not last so I make sure that I don’t work too hard, eat as much organic fruit and veg I can and design the plots so that I can still work them if I flare up again.