If you live in a warm climate or have access to sheltered containers, you should have no problems growing winter potatoes. The reason why is because if your ground is frozen, and therefore rock hard, it will be very difficult to dig them up. The potatoes themselves will also suffer from frost over the winter months if you live in a particularly harsh climate.
If you do live in quite a cold country, you can always grow winter potatoes in a greenhouse, for example. However this could be quite costly because you will need to heat it up so that the temperature doesn’t drop too low during the winter.
It is important to note that when the days are short and the temperatures are low, the growth of your potatoes will inevitably slow down. Therefore they should be planted in the summer months if you want to harvest them around Christmas time, and a little earlier if you want to eat them for Thanksgiving.
It is often recommended that you leave your potatoes in a cool dark place and wait for them to begin to sprout (often referred to as chitting) before planting them. If some potatoes fail to sprout you can simply discard them and just plant the healthy ones. Chitting is generally recommended but it is not totally necessary because they should still grow pretty well anyway.
If you want to grow your own potatoes using tub containers, you should put three plants into a container that is 18 inches in diameter. These containers should be really clean and should have an adequate amount of holes for drainage. You should put a few inches of gravel in the bottom of these containers in order to prevent waterlogging.
As regards winter potatoes, you should put three inches of mulch, leaves or straw on top of the gravel as this will keep the potatoes frost-free.
The potatoes should be planted in three inches of compost and they should be well fertilized. As the plants grow you should add a little more compost and fertilizer so that you fill up the container. Ideally you want to use organic fertilizer if you are serious about becoming a truly organic gardener. Just try not to use manure as this is too strong for potatoes and will burn their roots.
Once the container is full the plants will continue growing, and then they will eventually flower. After a few more weeks the tops will die off and the potatoes will be ready. If you feel they are too small, you can simply leave them for a few more weeks.
As regards which type of potatoes you should consider growing, Charlotte and Maris Peer are generally the most popular, although there are lots of others you can choose from. You can easily buy seed potatoes if you want to grow them in containers, or alternatively you can use organic potatoes from your local grocery store or you can visit a farmers market and pick up some locally grown potatoes.
It is worth bearing in mind that bought potatoes that are not seed potatoes should not be planted in your garden because they can spread disease into your soil. You should also avoid spreading compost on your garden that has previously been used to grow potatoes bought from a grocery in containers for the same reason.
Anyway the point is that it is relatively easy to grow your own potatoes either in an organic garden, or in containers. If you follow the instructions above, you can look forward to eating some delicious potatoes in the months ahead.Food and Drink