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Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire
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Potatoes have got to be one of the most rewarding crops to grow! Not only are they delicious they are also very versatile and store extremely well.
There is nothing quite like the anticipation of digging up freshly grown spuds. As potatoes love deep and rich soil it completely makes sense to grow them in raised beds!
However, how successful your potato crop will be will depend upon how you grow them. Growing potatoes in raised beds has many benefits but there are also some drawbacks.
Here, I will address some common questions regarding cropping potatoes in raised beds. I will also discuss some elements and considerations to be aware of to achieve good results.
Do potatoes grow well in raised beds?
Potatoes will grow well in raised beds if they are provided with a stable moisture content, fertile and crumbly soil and lots of sunlight.
Potatoes do not like very small raised beds which become saturated in heavy rain and too dry during warm spells. Consequently the larger volume of soil you have the better your results.
Raised beds generally provide soil with more sunlight and consequently more warmth. Therefore, you can expect your soil to warm up early in the growing season for earlier crops.
Yes, potatoes do grow very well in raised beds as long as these factors are optimum.
How deep should a raised bed be for potatoes?
Potatoes love a deep and rich soil so their roots can form large tubers. However, you do want your raised beds too high and deep so they dry out easily.
Even if potatoes have deep beds they will still struggle to form good tubers in dry soil. Therefore, get an idea of how well drained your underlying soil is and moisture retentive your topsoil is.
I would say a raised bed of around 400mm deep is perfect for growing potatoes.
How large should raised beds be for potatoes?
The larger a raised beds volume, the less variation there will be in both moisture and fertility. Therefore, on the whole, a larger raised bed is better.
However, it really comes down to how many potatoes you want to plant. I would say raised beds for potatoes should be about 2 metres wide and as long as you need.
Such a width will allow easy access from both sides without leaning on soil causing compaction. I find a height of between 300mm and 500mm is optimum.
Positioning your raised beds
It is best to position raised, potato, beds in a sunny but sheltered position. This will prevent strong winds from blowing over your plants.
A full sun position will provide your potatoes plenty of energy and starch to help swell the tubers. Make sure your raised beds are positioned not too far from a water source.
In times of hot, dry weather your potato plants must be kept well watered. If beds are in rows try to run them from north to south.
This will allow them to get a good, even, coverage from the days sunlight.
Do you hill potatoes in a raised bed?
One of the benefits of growing potatoes in raised beds is you do not have to hill them. You can fill your raised beds only half way and then plant your seed potatoes.
This way you can fill up around them as they gradually grow up. This process will provoke your plants to produce more tubers as they grow.
The loose soil will also lead to less compaction around the potatoes leading them to swell larger. However, you do not have to necessarily hill potatoes inside raised beds.
Just bear in mind if you don’t you may not get as many tubers.
It is worth mentioning more than once that potatoes grow the best when they have consistent moisture. Your soil should not be wet and boggy but is should not dry out.
This can be a common problem with growing potatoes in high raised beds. In order for your potatoes to swell they need sun and moisture during the season.
If you have a very free draining soil and hot summers you may want to consider installing irrigation. Once a raised bed is dry it can be difficult to rehydrate unless done gradually.
Drip irrigation can be a good solution or just keep a daily check on your crops.
Thank you for reading our article on growing potatoes in raised beds. If you require raised bed installation for growing potatoes please do not hesitate to contact us.
Buckinghamshire Landscape Gardeners are experts in building vegetable gardens and raised beds.
Below I have linked to some other vegetable garden articles you may find useful.
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Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire