Potato Growing Success Story in the UK

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by Annette Welsford No Comments

Rhys Jaggar, London

We were delighted to receive a wonderful email from one of our valued customers who purchased our book How to Grow Great Potatoes, an avid potato grower who lives in the UK. He has had great success this growing season and kindly shared his experiences with us.

Potato Growing with Rhys Jaggar

Rhys Jaggar lives in London, near Heathrow airport, and here’s his potato growing results from this summer.

Kestrel Potatoes
grown in polypots

“The beginning of the growing season saw lots of moisture deep in the soil due to the wet winter that had just passed. This was very promising and lasted until mid June.

However, summer bought with it a dry spell, which meant regular watering was a must. Unfortunately, after my supplies of rainwater ran out, I was forced to use tap water, which isn’t ideal for potatoes. This didn’t turn out to be such an issue as I was able to successfully grow a range of potato varieties, including Desiree, Sarpo Mira, Blue Belle and Kestrel.

Potato Yields

A great yield of Desiree potatoes

Upon harvesting, I was relieved to see that I had no issue with blight, though I did notice that there was low to medium levels of scab on potatoes grown in pots and bags. Two of the twelve Desiree potato plants did show signs of disease in yields of about 450g (1lb), although I wasn’t able to identify which kind.

The remaining plants produced excellent yields – one Sarpo Mira pot produced just over 4kgs (9lbs) of perfect potatoes! Considering this great yield and Sarpo Mira’s resistance to blight, I believe that this would be a reliable variety for any gardener.

Here is a more detailed overview of my results:

Method Used to Grow Potatoes

The methods I used, both pot growing and bag growing, were taken from Yorkshire potato grower, Dan, who writes a blog – www.allotment-dairy.co.uk. He has been working on his potato yields over the past couple of years, and has made changes to his growing system in order to increase quantity and quality. His method works well in wetter areas, as it gives good drainage but you don’t have to water everyday. I also think that the method is most successful when used to grow the main crop.

Here’s some other things I did:

  • Growing potatoes vertically also appeared to be successful in 35 litre pots.
  • Pre-treatment of the ground over the winter through overlaying horse manure was successful and the use of comfrey leaves appeared to enhance yields of potatoes.
  • Higher density of planting than that used by commercial farmers did not affect yield/plant.

I conducted my own experiments, and have some ideas for even better experiments to try next season. My goal is to grow about 70kgs (150lbs) of potatoes, which will provide me with enough produce to last the year.”

Our Thanks to Rhys

A big thank you to Rhys for sharing details of his potato growing experiments and great results. As a former research biologist, Rhys uses his scientific background to plan and track his progress in detail. This type of methodical approach is certainly useful if you’re trying to improve yields and quality. We can’t wait to see Rhys’s progress next season!

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