Growing Potatoes in Containers
Well I decided after buying bags of potatoes every month from our local grocery store, it was high time to start growing potatoes in containers. So, here begins the journey into potato land. Now, I have read you want to have good dirt to grow them in so they are nice and round, which I don’t have yet. We just moved here several years ago and are still in process of getting our urban homestead how we like (want) it. Go read my story here for all the juicy (or not…lol) details. So I decided to take the plunge into container gardening.
Last year I laid down cardboard, then landscape fabric then mulch in my patio flower beds and placed containers on top. It was a compromise situation…I was dang tired of fighting the weeds that wouldn’t leave. And I wasn’t about to spray tons of chemicals to get them dead and gone. But, that project was a success. My one rose still planted in ground is thriving now and the pots of plants have turned out great. Easier to manage the watering here in the North Texas heat in the summer too.
So that sprouted a seed of an idea in my head. I could plant potatoes and onion and strawberries this way too…hmmm. Genius was born. 🙂
Your Container Options
You have an unlimited amount of container options. I have searched the internet over and found just a zillion of them. Everything from 5 gallon buckets, shopping bags from Walmart, trash cans of all sizes, buckets and bins in every size and shape and grow bags. I decided to go with the grow bag option. Let me tell you why. Really it boiled down to 2 reasons. The first being drainage.
I read that you didn’t want your seed potatoes to get moldy due to excess moisture, so it seemed to me that drainage was supreme importance. Also, I really liked the flap on the front of the grow bags a lot. I know, I know, they may not really work but I liked the idea of lifting up the flap and seeing all my little beautiful ‘tatoes in there!
Here is a video that shows you just how many container options you have:
8 Ways to Grow Tons of Potatoes No Matter Where You Live
So now that I have my containers, I bought 2 bags that were 10 gallon size. I researched the size and decided on that. I feel that will give us plenty of potatoes, at least to start. I may end up with these all over my yard. I did buy 2 smaller size bags that were 7 gallon each to try my onions in. If your interested in grow bags I highly recommend these.
I did plant my potatoes a little late. We had on again and off again weather as we so often do here in North Texas. I am on the border of zone 7b and 8. Need to know your zone or how to find it? Check out my Gardening Resources page. I could have planted earlier but just didn’t get there this year. We shall see what kind of harvest I end up with this year.
What type of Potato do I plant?
You want to go with seed potatoes. But where you get them is all up to you. You can get them on Amazon HERE. You can also get them from your discount garden center, nurseries, feed stores and mail order. If you want special varieties, order from a mail order company and do it early. They will mail them to you in time for planting for your zone. I procrastinated this year and didn’t get my order placed, but found Russet and Red New potatoes and my local Tractor Supply near my home.
So when it comes to seed potatoes here are your choices:
- Certified seed potatoes (these are potatoes that have been tested and certified disease-free)
- Use potatoes from last year’s harvest (may or may not work)
- Plant seed potatoes that have not been certified (sketchy but could work or you may have disease)
Prepping your Potatoes
Keep them in their bag till your all ready to get to planting. Then decide to cut or not to cut. I decided to not cut on the smaller potatoes but when it came to the medium to large potatoes I decided to cut into chunks and made sure I had at least 2 eyes (and possibly a little growth already) on them. Then you let them sit for 2 days to scab or heal over. That way you hopefully do not get disease. Which is why you must make that crucial decision.
Here is a great article from The Farmers Almanac all about growing potatoes, I especially like the detailed instructions about how to prep your potatoes for planting.
Planting your Potatoes
As you can see from the picture above I got to planting my spuds. I am using a combination of very well composted soil and a little top soil and I am mixing the two together prior to putting into the grow bags. I then lined the bottom of the grow bag with about 4 inches of my soil and compost.
I then added at least 2 inches of soil over them. As they grow, the plant will begin to emerge from the soil. When it’s about 6 inches or so in height, add another 2-inches of soil. I Placed my containers in a sunny area at the end of my patio. My Russet potatoes and White onions on one end and the Red New potatoes and Red onions on the other.
As the plants continue to grow, keep adding 2-inches of soil, making sure to leave about 4-inches of plant exposed to the sun, until the soil reaches the top of the container.
Potatoes will be ready to harvest when the leaves start to die back, in about 10 – 12 weeks. (If you want to store them for a while, however, then leave them in the ground for a few weeks after the foliage dies back so their skins thicken.)
Here are a few great resources that I love and I hope you will too:
Keep those hands dirty,
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