Growing Raised Bed Potatoes * For the easiest way to grow & harvest garden potatoes,
* Gain control over problem areas,
* Warm, airy, soil gives you bigger potatoes.

Raised bed potatoes rank with potato grow bags in producing high quality tubers suitable for the garden show bench. Like potato bins they can be set up over hard surfaces. This no-dig method of growing potatoes saves you the effort of ridging up - and harvesting is easier too.

Grow Again With Raised Bed Potatoes


Many advantages of growing in potato bags and tubs also apply to raised beds.
  • Site raised bed potatoes over garden soil that is unsuitable for a normal crop,
    • chalky soils with high ph,
    • stiff clay or shallow soils,
    • poorly drained areas1,
  • Also grow over hard surfaces and paved yards - for grow bed liner see below...
  • Raised beds warm up quickly so,
  • You can grow an early crop,
  • There's no need for hilling or earthed up ridges either - see below,
  • Harvest beautiful clean and unblemished 'new' potatoes,
  • Like potato grow bags and tubs, raised bed potatoes give you a no-dig growing method that I believe is the easiest of them all.

You can build raised beds in many shapes and depths, from simple kits available on the links below along with good top soil. Note: polymer raised bed kits are now well-used at flower shows because they are so simple to set up.

1 About Siting Raised Bed Potatoes

When situating raised beds over lawns, remove the turf first to either:
  • stack and make garden loam or,
  • to lay upside down over the potato bed after planting.
Raised beds can be sited over a weedy site when a temporary porous sheet mulch is laid down first as a weed barrier.

Hard surfaces such as concrete or paving can also be used as a base. Use a liner to reduce leaching and protect the underlying surface - see links below.

If your site is waterlogged you would be well advised to add a 3" layer of grit to the bottom. By raising the soil above the water level your bed will draw from the water below when dry and be well drained when wet.

Compacted soils and shallow soils on hard 'iron pans' may be an ideal site for your raised bed - alternatively make your beds even deeper by breaking the ground open with help from the garden tillers on links below.

The best possible site would be over cultivated garden soil that's had loads of well rotted manure forked in. But in those areas I prefer to grow normally.

Find kits to build and extend raised beds here.

Find soil and compost for raised bed potatoes here.

Plan For Growing Potatoes in Raised Beds

  • Build the raised bed and fill with a moisture retentive organic soil mix,
  • Work well rotted manure or dried bagged manure into the soil mix,
  • Cover the bed with black polythene to warm it up,

  • Plant chitted potato tubers with about 1" of soil above the shoots,
  • Re-cover the soil with a sheet. Alternatively you could use 4 - 8  layers of newspaper or slices of straw bale.
  • Make slits in sheeting to allow the potato shoots up, or make holes in the compact straw for the shoots - loosening the straw a little gives access to potatoes shoots but keep the light out...
  • Sheets serve to protect your potato tubers from exposure to light.
  • If they're up before last expected frost then cover with fleece or cloches - support frames are available for raised beds - see links below,

  • When using newspaper mulch continue to add layers of grass cuttings,
  • Keep the bed well watered as the plants are growing,

  • After 60 days with 'early' varieties - about the time the plants flower - you can take a look under the mulch,
  • 'New' potatoes of hen's egg size are easy to harvest - say 2 at a time. Simply lift the sheet for direct access to clean potatoes.

Raised Beds Are Easily Made...


Kits For Growing Raised Bed Potatoes Are Here For You.
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For frost or pest protection

Choose extension components or complete raised bed kits...

Raised Bed Kit
     

You Can Grow 'Early', 'Second Early' and Christmas Potatoes in Raised Beds.

I suggest using the finest tasting 'early' and 'second early' potato varieties
- not necessarily the quickest to grow -
That's because if you use a light, sterilized, moisture retentive, organic compost your raised bed potatoes will be the cleanest, unblemished, most beautiful tubers you could ever grow.

You might also try those handsome looking potato varieties such a 'Kestrel'.

More On How To Use Raised Beds

There's lots more information on how to use raised beds for growing many different crops in your garden. For root crops such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips... you would want them to be at least 30 to 45cm high when over hard surfaces. You'll find the priniciples of raised bed gardening outlined.

Soil Mix For Raised Bed Potatoes

Use a moisture retentive soil mix. Before filling the bed you could lay down seep hose - but that won't make up for a dry soil mix.

To fill an area of 1 square metre 2 units deep (about 30cm) you will need 300 Litres of soil mix.
To fill an area of 1 square yard 2 units deep (20 inches) you will need about 460 dry Quarts of soil mix.

The Soil Mix ?

  • You can use good earth from your own garden, or
  • buy in sterilized top soil, or
  • use a moisture retentive and rich organic compost.
The last 2 options help you reduce pests and start a clean growing bed.

... and you can dilute a proprietary soil with your own soil or garden compost so that it goes further...

Potatoes are a very hungry crop
- but don't overdo nitrogen fertilizer.

As a rough guide you could mix your soil 50:50 with garden compost and a good helping of well-rotted manure. Dried and bagged manure - try chicken manure - will do and it is easy to handle. It's best to make the bed a few months before planting.

Indeed you should probably add soil amendments to your mix at the outset. You can get organic fertilizers - try special fertilizer blends by following this link.

Remember that you only have to build the bed once. In subsequent years you will add organic fertilizers and manure, and organic mulches to the surface. Your raised bed can be a no-dig area.

Soil and Compost For Growing Raised Potatoes Is Here For You.
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Don't forget that you can dilute compost with your own soil if necessary.


Raised Bed Gardening

the-organic-gardener.com has more general information on how to use raised beds in your garden...
  • Are raised beds right for your organic garden?
  • How to manage raised beds,
  • Save time and effort on landscaping with raised beds,
You'll find the principles of raised bed organic gardening outlined on this link.

Garden Gate





My Neighbour's Garden Plots

Garden Organic explains a no-dig method.

There's more about growing potatoes on straw on this link.
Coming later I'll write about my own straw bale potatoes.

Do you run a gardening website - with information to interest my visitors? To set up exchange links from/to suitable pages - click here.


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