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Potatoes, seedlings, big bulldogs & have-a-go bullycats

Posted by on Thursday 17 March 2011 in growing | 8 comments

I’ve been really careful, well, kinda careful this year to not overwhelm myself with seedlings.

It’s a bit of a balancing act, isn’t it? Ensuring that you sow enough to get adequate germination and to survive the tribulations of growing into seedlings, being transplanted and being put somewhere that ninja slugs might reach them (nevermind late frost snaps, being sat on by the dog or a myriad of diseases and other pests) – BUT not sowing too many that it’ll overwhelm your available resources (including time and space).

Last year, I accidentally grew way too many squash and nearly all the rest of my veggies suffered as a result – I’m keen not to make that mistake this year so have been cautious when it comes to buying and planting. Or at least I thought I had been – even though I’d resisted the cheap large bags of seed potatoes I’d seen, the small amount of seed potatoes I have bought are going to go further than I thought.

This afternoon I’ve planted out some Swift potatoes – which apparently provide small but very early spuds – and used up a third of my existing potato containers/bags — and I’ve still got another six varieties chitting and nearly ready to plant out. Admittedly I’ve only got a small amount of each variety but still, by my maths, I’ll need at least another eight to ten containers/bags for them all. It’s times like these that I really wish I had an allotment or at least beds that were deep enough/wide enough to warrant rows.

Any recommendations for potato-growing containers/bags or stuff to reuse for said containers?

I’ve also asked on Twitter for recommendations for topsoil and/or compost suppliers – we just don’t have any spare soil in this garden and our compost heaps aren’t pumping out enough of the brown stuff just yet. If anyone else has any suggestions around Leeds/Bradford or offering affordable delivery from elsewhere, I’d love to hear them :)

Aside from the potatoes, it’s all go in my seedling nurseries – I’ve got stuff that needs a warm environment (tomatoes, peppers, chillis, squash, cucumber) in the propagator, and stuff that doesn’t mind the cold (early lettuce, broad beans and after being reminded about them by Gillian, radishes) in the greenhouse. Lots and lots of green shoots popping up. But hopefully not too many of any one thing ;)

The jostaberry canes are planted out too – although that little job was interrupted by a big bulldog coming over to meet Lily-dog and Boron the old, toothless cat deciding he wanted to fight said big bulldog to prove his manliness or something. Thankfully the bulldog is good around cats so just tried to get out of the way of Boron’s swats but a scary few minutes for me all the same!


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  1. bookstorebabe

    If you can get some old car tires, you can stack a few of them, fill them with dirt, and plant your potatoes. May not be the most attractive planter, but doesn’t take up a lot of space, and harvesting them should be easy. Haven’t done that myself, just heard of it elsewhere.

  2. Linda

    You can lay newspaper on ground, then seed potatoes then straw and moll up with more and more straw. Not sure how it works but it does.

  3. Hazel

    Getting car tyres in the UK isn’t as easy as it used to be, because of their waste classification, but you may find a garage that will give you some if you promise to return them or dispose of them properly elsewhere.

    They do work, though, because you can keep filling and stacking them. I’m on the fence re: any contaminants in them that may leach into the soil as your spuds grow.

    Old compost sacks are pretty good- roll them down and then roll up as you earth up. People might save them for you on Freecycle; it’s the right time of year for people to be buying compost and mulches from the garden centre.

    I found our local council composting site sells bulk compost by putting my postcode into this site http://compostsuppliers.wrap.org.uk/

    Might be helpful,


  4. Jan

    I used old compost sacks and a mixture of leafmould, molehills and Multipurpose compost last year. This year I am using potato fertiliser and multipurpose compost as the yields were rather small. We gardeners live in hope!

  5. Jan

    For free delivery of compost/soilimprover/compost try CPL distribution/Creative Garden Ideas. Our local coal merchant does something similar-their delivery man is used to moving big weights up and down steps etc.

  6. Petra

    This year, for the first time, I will try a potato box, like this one: http://www.makkelijkemoestuin.com/aardappelen.html
    (the description of the potato box is in English).
    I’m not sury if it will work. I’m quite curious. I built it from scrap wood.

  7. louisa

    Thanks for all these suggestions guys – I think I squirrelled away some compost bags last year so I’ll dig those out, and see if I can get hold of some tyres for stacking and some scrap wood to build a potato box.

    I’ll keep hunting for compost/soil too :)

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