How to grow potatoes in containers | Living the Country Life
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How to grow potatoes in containers

Growing potatoes in containers saves space and saves your back. It also helps cut down on pest damage, and is a fun project for kids!
  • Containers in the country

    Container gardening is popular among urban gardeners, but sometimes it makes perfect sense, even if you have acres and acres to garden. Potatoes are the perfect example! 

    Date Published: March 8, 2013
    Date Updated: March 8, 2013
  • Save your back!

    Planting potatoes the old-fashioned way is a ton of work. You have to dig a trench, plant the potatoes, and shovel dirt on top of them. At harvest, you have to dig them up again, trying not to slice into them, and hoping no pests have damaged them. Containers are so much easier!

    Date Published: March 8, 2013
    Date Updated: March 8, 2013
  • Choose a container

    You can plant potatoes in a deep pot, a whole or half whiskey barrel, a food-grade container, a trash can, or even in old tires! The key is to have good drainage, so either add several holes to the bottom of your container, or remove the bottom altogether and set the container on the ground. Put it in a sunny spot.

    Date Published: March 8, 2013
    Date Updated: March 8, 2013
  • Pick your potatoes

    Choose your favorite variety of seed potatoes, or mix it up and plant several! Don't use baking potatoes from the grocery store, since they may have been chemically treated and won't germinate properly. Avoid using early-season varieties. Fingerling potatoes work well, as do Yellow Finn, Indian Pitt, and Red Pontiac varieties, to name a few. Heirloom varieties are also fun to try. Talk to the experts at your garden center for advice on which potatoes to use.

    Date Published: March 8, 2013
    Date Updated: March 8, 2013
  • The eyes have it

    You can help speed the sprouting process by putting seed potatoes in an open paper bag in a cool room with indirect light until sprouts form, but you can skip this step if you wish. Cut seed potatoes into fourths, making sure each piece has a couple of eyes. 

    Date Published: March 8, 2013
    Date Updated: March 8, 2013
  • Time to plant!

    Fill your container about 1/3 of the way up with potting soil, or if it's a large container, add about 8 inches to the bottom. To avoid soil compaction, which prevents water from getting to the roots, amend the soil as needed so it has a peat-moss-like texture. Place potato pieces on top, and add another 6 inches of soil on top of the potatoes. Keep the soil moist but not too soggy, and wait until seedlings grow about 6 inches out of the soil.

    Date Published: March 8, 2013
    Date Updated: March 8, 2013
  • Keep them covered

    Once the seedlings are 6 inches high, carefully cover them completely with another layer of potting soil. If you wish, and if there's room in your container, you can place additional seed potatoes on the surface before adding more soil. Also, you can experiment with substituting materials other than soil for the add-on layers. Try sawdust, clean straw or mulch, or even shredded newspaper. Covering the seedlings forces them to send out underground shoots, causing more potatoes to develop. If you are using tires as your container, stack additional tires on top as needed, as you add layers of soil.

    Date Published: March 8, 2013
    Date Updated: March 8, 2013
  • Potato time!

    Repeat this process until your container is full, keeping the soil moist all the while. Once the final layer of green growth has begun to yellow, your potatoes should be ready to harvest. Reach down into the soil and check the top layer of potatoes. If they're ready, dump the container out and celebrate your bounty! 

    Date Published: March 8, 2013
    Date Updated: March 8, 2013

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