How To Grow Potatoes In Pots (Video)
Choose A Container
You can grow potatoes in just about any container.
Sacks, tires, barrels, buckets, pots, and boxes will all work.
The deeper the container, the more you can grow! The idea behind growing potatoes in containers is to always keep them covered. As the sprouts rise keep adding media so that only the tips are exposed to sunlight.
Using Boxes To Grow Potatoes
You can grow potatoes in any kind of box – cardboard boxes, wooden boxes, and plastic boxes.
The plus side is that boxes are pretty easy to obtain.
The downside is that cardboard boxes won’t last very long, plastic boxes tend to be small, and building your own wooden box takes time.
Instead, why not try barrels?
How To Grow Potatoes In A Barrel
Barrels are one of the classic go-tos for growing potatoes in containers. They are cheap, deep, and come in a variety of styles.
Growing potatoes in barrels is pretty much the same as for any other container.
First, make sure to drill or cut drain holes at the bottom of the barrel. Then follow the remaining steps below.
Use Buckets To Grow Potatoes
Buckets are a great go-to for growing potatoes. Cheap and easy to obtain buckets are a fun way to start gardening in containers.
Similar to barrels, all you need to do is cut or drill a drain hole in the bottom of the bucket. To create a small reservoir just drill the hole a few inches up on the side.
If you create a reservoir just be sure to add media a few inches above the hole so you don’t start your potatoes in water.
After your bucket’s setup just follow the remaining steps below.
How Deep Should A Container Be For Potatoes?
Containers should be at least one foot deep and preferably much more than that. Barrels tend to be 4 feet high.
Growing in tires allow you to add height as your potatoes grow while providing the most light (tall barrels block the light while the plants are young and at the bottom.
Get A Good Growing Media
When growing potatoes in containers you’re going to need to move a lot of media. You’ll want to choose something light and easy like straw or leaves.
Start with 6 inches of potting soil mix as the base. Again, make sure your container as some kind of drainage holes. You want the 6 inches of potting soil to extend above the drainage holes so your seed potatoes don’t start in wet soil.
You could use potting soil completely but that would get expensive. Beyond the first 6-8 inches potting soil isn’t needed. Use something cheap or free like yard leaves or straw.
Growing Potatoes In Containers With Straw
As described above straw makes a cheap, light, easy to handle growing media. Just start with 6 inches of potting soil (1/3 soil, 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculte or perlite if you want to make your own) at the base of your container.
Add your seed potatoes and cover slightly with potting soil. When the shoots are 6 inches high add straw. Add more straw every time the shoots get 6 inches above the media.
Pick Your Potato Variety
You can grow just about any potato variety in pots. Try 3-4 different varieties in different pots to learn which will do best for your area.
Here’s a list of common potatos that grow well in pots:
- Yukon Gold
- Red Potatoes
- Fingerling Potatoes
- Red Thumb
- Russian Banana
- Rose Finn Apple
- French Fingerling
- Blue Potato
- Purple Majesty
Know What Month To Plant Potatoes For Your Area
Plant potatoes 2-3 weeks before your average frost date. Potatoes are cool weather plants. You start them early in the spring and harvest 3-4 months later.
Can you grow potatoes in winter?
You can absolutely grow potatoes in winter if you can give them 6-8 hours of full light or sunlight a day and maintain an average soil temperature above freezing that is 45 – 55 Degrees F. Containers are great for keeping things cool in the summer if well aerated but may be too cold in the winter.
For winter potatoes to succeed you’ll need to use cold frames, grow them indoors, or in a greenhouse and maintain the light and temperature requirements listed above.
Plant The Correct Number Of Potatoes For Your Container Or Pot
Plant 1 seed potato for every two gallons of container space. For a 5 gallon bucket you would plant 2-3 seed potatoes. For a 10 gallon pot you would plant 4-6 seed potatoes. Using the following chart as quick reference:
|Container Diameter (Inches)||Container Size (Gallons)||# of Seed Potatoes to Plant|
|11.91||5 gallon bucket||2-3|
|18.25||30 gallon barrel||7-8*|
* note that even with a larger barrel you only start based on the diameter and size of the base
Add Media as Your Potatoes Grow
Give Your Potatoes Enough Sun Or Artificial Light
Ideal Temperatures To Grow Potatoes
Potatoes prefer to grow in cool soils ranging from 45 – 55 Degrees F. Growing potatoes in pots or towers can be a great way to keep them cool if the container has air holes and isn’t a dark color that heats up in the sun.
Harvest Your Potatoes
Potatoes take 3-4 months to fully grow. Even then, wait till the shoots stop growing, turn brown, and wither before harvesting your potatoes.
While the plants are turning brown they are sending the last of their energy and nutrients down into your potatoes making them as nutritious as possible. Waiting also gives the plants time to strengthen the potatoes so they last longer.
Gather your potatoes before the first frosts of fall. Potatoes grown in containers are more exposed to colder weather. Don’t let frost damage all your hard work!
Store potatoes in a cool (45-50 Degrees F), humid (95%), dark place. Separate out any damaged potatoes as they could rot and spoil potatoes around them.
How to Cure Potatoes
Want your potatoes to last even longer? Then you need to toughen up those potatoes! Do this by curing them.
To cure potatoes simply lay then out in shallow containers that are lined with paper or newspaper. Cover them with dark fabric (e.g. dark towels).
The goal is to allow air to move around them while keeping them in the dark. Sunlight will make them turn green and green potatoes can make you sick.
Tips On Growing Potatoes In Containers Indoors
Want to grow potatoes indoors? You can. Just follow these easy steps.
- Pick a cool location. You need to keep them at 45 – 55 Degrees F. This will be harder to do inside unless you have a cool basement or other unheated area of the house.
- Setup your containers. As above, add 6 inches of potting soil at the base of your containers.
- Have straw, leaves, or potting soil ready. You’ll be adding it as they grow.
- Plant 1 seed potato per 2 gallons of container space. See spacing guidelines above.
- Provide 6-8 hours minimum of lighting. Use T5 lights and aim for 40 watts of fluorescent light per square foot.
- Keep them covered. Once the shoots grow 6 inches high cover them with more media. Recover after every 6 inches.
- Harvest when plants are brown. Harvest your potatoes after 4 months when the plants have died down and turned brown.
- Store potatoes in a cool (50 F), humid (95%), and dark place.