If you’re a beginning gardener or lack the garden space, potatoes are a great veggie to plant. They are easy growers, and you can even regrow them from scraps you usually throw into the garbage can. Find out how to plant potatoes in a container in a few simple steps and care for your potato plants for a bountiful harvest.
While your grocery store probably has plenty of spuds, something is satisfying about harvesting homegrown potatoes. Container gardens are perfect for a small yard or patio, and growing your own food means you enjoy organic food at the end of the growing season.
There are many heirloom and hybrid potato varieties to grow at home, from Fingerling and early potatoes to sweet potatoes. It’s unnecessary to chit potatoes before planting, and potato growing is so simple that a green thumb is not required. The key is to use the correct potato container and give your potato plants the right amount of TLC.
- How to Prepare for Planting Potatoes in Containers
- How to Plant Potatoes in Containers by Starting Them Indoors
- How to Plant Potatoes in a Container Outside
- Caring for Potatoes Growing in Containers
- When are Container Potatoes Ready to Harvest?
- Ways to Store Container Potatoes after Harvesting
- Using Container Potatoes to Make Mashed Potatoes
Container Gardening with Potatoes
Potatoes grow in everything from a garden and raised bed to grow bags. However, planting them in 5 gallon buckets is the simplest way to grow new potatoes. Learn how to grow potatoes in containers, give your plants care to ensure they produce tubers, and when and how to harvest potatoes to prepare a delicious recipe.
How to Prepare for Planting Potatoes in Containers
Before you grow potatoes, there are some things you need to gather to make the job easier. Prepare for planting potatoes in containers by choosing the proper pot, soil, and seed potato.
When growing potatoes in a container, we prefer to use a five-gallon bucket. This size is ideal for planting two seed potatoes, and each seed produces about eight potatoes, give or take. However, if you prefer a larger container, a ten-gallon bucket is suitable for planting five seed potatoes.
Use high-quality potting soil and enrich it with organic matter and a slow-release organic fertilizer before planting. Your local garden center carries a variety of disease-free seed potatoes, from Yukon Gold to Red Pontiac.
However, if you choose to regrow new potatoes from an old potato, choose one that is organic and make sure it has several eyes.
How to Plant Potatoes in Containers by Starting Them Indoors
It’s possible to regrow potatoes rather than purchase seed potatoes from the nursery. Discover how to plant potatoes in containers by starting them from leftover scraps indoors.
Use a sharp knife to cut the organic potato into two pieces. Make sure each half has at least two eyes since these are the nodes where the shoots appear. Set the potato sections in a safe place in the kitchen for a couple of days as the cut areas callus over, and then prepare to plant them in a container.
How to Plant Potatoes in a Container Outside
Planting potatoes in a container is pretty straightforward. However, there are a few steps to ensure your potato plants thrive and produce healthy spuds. It’s essential to know how deep and far apart to plant seed potatoes in a container garden.
Set the container in full sun and pour four to six inches of soil into the bottom. Set the seed potatoes on the dirt with the eye buds facing upward, and then cover them with a couple of inches of garden soil.
Make sure to space them evenly, making them about six inches apart. Water the newly planted potatoes well until the water runs out of the drainage holes.
Caring for Potatoes Growing in Containers
After planting potatoes in containers, and your plants begin sprouting, they require some extra attention for optimal growth. Here is how to water, feed, and hill your potato plants through the growing season.
The key to growing healthy potato plants is to keep the soil moist without over-watering them. Check the pot daily by inserting your finger an inch into the dirt. If it’s dry, the plants want water. Containers dry out faster than gardens, and spreading mulch in the pot is a great way to retain moisture.
Feed your potatoes two weeks after planting with a fertilizer higher in phosphate and potassium and lower in nitrogen. Repeat every four weeks and stop fertilizing four weeks before harvesting.
When your potato plants reach six inches tall, it’s time to hill them. Remove the mulch and add a couple of inches of garden soil around the plants to cover the growing stems at the bottom. Replace the mulch after they are hilled, and repeat the hilling process as the plants grow.
When are Container Potatoes Ready to Harvest?
While it’s obvious when other garden veggies like tomatoes are ready to harvest, a potato is a little different since it grows beneath the ground. Learn ways to tell when potatoes are ready to pick and how to harvest them.
Small potatoes are ready to harvest anytime after the plant flowers. Reach your hands down into the dirt and carefully pull out new potatoes as you need them. When the plants turn yellow and wither, harvest all the remaining potatoes at once.
Ways to Store Container Potatoes after Harvesting
Now that you understand how to plant potatoes in containers and harvest them at the end of the season, it’s time to store them. Here are some potato storage tips to help keep your spuds as fresh as possible.
Brush the dirt off your potatoes, let them cure for about a week in a dark, well-ventilated area, and then store them in a basket or bin in a cool place away from the sun.
Properly stored potatoes last for a couple of months, depending on the type. For example, yellow and white spuds and those with thick skins last longer than red types.
Using Container Potatoes to Make Mashed Potatoes
You’ve probably had mashed potatoes many times throughout your life. However, you may not have had them mashed with roasted garlic. The result is a flavorful dish that is hard to resist, and this recipe serves six.
Peel the garlic and slice off the heads to reveal the clove tops. Drizzle them with oil and wrap the heads in aluminum foil. Move them to a baking sheet and bake them for forty minutes in a 400°F oven.
In the meantime, place the potatoes and bay leaves in a pot of cold water and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat, simmer them until they are fork-tender, and then drain them in a colander. Put the cooked spuds into a large bowl, add the roasted garlic, and use a potato masher to mash them until smooth.
Combine the sticks of butter and milk in a saucepan and warm them to melt the butter, and then pour the milk-butter over the potatoes while stirring until fully absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Many people feel intimidated by gardening and often think that large garden spaces are necessary to grow their own food. However, this is far from the truth since many fruits and vegetables are quite happy growing in a bucket or container as long as you provide them with their growing needs.
Now that you know how to plant potatoes in a container, why not impress your family and friends by sharing our potato container growing guide with them on Facebook and Pinterest?