Growing potatoes in a container rather than in the garden has several advantages, but some gardeners may wonder how to plant potatoes in a pot. One of the most significant benefits of planting potatoes in pots is the ease of shielding the plants from pests who enjoy eating them, like voles.
Planting potatoes in pots is a fun activity. Potato plants develop quickly and generate a high yield compared to the area required for container gardens. Harvesting homegrown potatoes from a container is similar to a treasure hunt; turn the container over and dig through the dirt to find delicious goodies.
The only drawback when planting potatoes in a pot is you have to be more cautious about watering because the soil in a container dries out more quickly than ground soil. Keeping your soil moist but not saturated is critical for successful growing. Check the soil moisture frequently, water deeply, and harvest a large crop of spuds.
How to Plant Potatoes in Pots – A Guide
Container gardening is simple and rewarding. Growing potatoes in any container is feasible, from large pots to a big garbage can. Even potato grow bags, 5 gallon buckets, or piles of tires work; however, you must be cautious because these vessels may quickly get too hot in the sunshine.
Smart Pots are a terrific alternative for potatoes as well. These growth containers are environmentally friendly and made from cloth, giving your potatoes air as they grow. They also have outstanding natural drainage, guaranteeing your potatoes never remain in water and rot.
Whatever you pick for your container when you grow potatoes in a bucket, ensure it has proper drainage. If it doesn’t include drainage holes, add some by making small holes in the bottom. If you’re ready to save on trips to the grocery store, try to grow your own potatoes or sweet potatoes. Container gardening is simple and rewarding.
You can also grow potatoes from potatoes with some water, toothpicks, and jars. Sprout your potatoes this way and then transfer the slips to soil and containers.
DIY Planting Potatoes in Pots – Hilling
Growing potatoes in grow bags, containers, a raised bed, or on the ground is different from growing other vegetables. Potato cultivation utilizes a hilling technique, in which the grower gradually buries the plant’s stem as it grows by heaping more earth around it.
As the hilled garden soil rises, the deeper buried stems generate new tubers of root structures, potatoes. As a result, hilling is critical for developing the highest yield from your potato plants. Burying the stems also keeps the potatoes from becoming green by preventing them from being subjected to light.
The hilling process differs slightly while growing potatoes in containers, but the basics remain the same – covering the seed lightly with soil after sowing. Additional potting soil is piled around the crop at regular intervals as it grows until the vessel is full.
Timing for How to Grow Potatoes
Most potato varieties have an almost year-round growing season. In chilly northern climates, grow potatoes all summer. In hot summer southern climates, grow potatoes in the fall, winter, and spring.
Plant potatoes once the local soil temperature reaches 40°F, usually 4-6 weeks before the last frost in spring if you keep your container outdoors.
Cultivating potatoes in pots is similar to growing them in the garden in terms of timing. Planting in-ground potatoes around two weeks from the last frost in your area is the standard guideline.
When planting in containers, you may be able to move the planting date ahead a few weeks because the soil warms up quickly when exposed to the sunlight above ground. If a late spring frost is forecast, be ready to cover or move your potato containers indoors.
Prepare for How to Plant Potatoes in a Pot
Use high-quality, quick-draining potting soil with perlite, mainly if you’re using a container made from plastic. Organic soils are also an excellent option. Add organic fertilizer to the potting soil. In addition to this initial feeding, feed your potatoes every couple of weeks with a diluted liquid fertilizer, such as manure tea as the best way to fertilize potatoes for maximum yield.
Shake well and pour onto the soil to enrich its nutritional value. Container-grown potatoes require a lot of water, which leaches soil nutrients. As a result, plants in containers typically require more nutrition than plants cultivated in the ground.
Prepare your seed potatoes. Avoid a trip to garden centers by using organic potatoes as seed potatoes for your containers. Cut seed potatoes into small pieces with at least two growth nodes, or eyes, where sprouting happens and shoots emerge.
Allow for callus formation on the cut surfaces by letting them sit for a few days before planting.
Planting Your Seed Potatoes
Planting potatoes in pots begins with preparing the soil and placing the seed potatoes into your prepared container. Set the container in direct sunlight. Fill the container halfway with potting soil combined with compost and fertilizer, about 4 to 6 inches deep.
To grow potatoes from eyes, place the prepped seed potato pieces into the potting mix with the eye buds facing up. Because the plant grows quite large, make sure to leave enough room for them to breathe; this also helps to keep them disease-free.
For example, a 20-inch-wide container holds around four seed potatoes, which may not seem like much, but the volume of your harvest may astound you.
Note that a shallow planting depth for potatoes is important. Cover the seed potatoes with a couple of inches of potting soil. It’s best to use 1-4 inches of dirt. The less earth you add on top in a cooler area, such as Colorado, the better.
Care for Potted Potatoes
Without sun and water, potatoes don’t grow. Whether you plant and grow potatoes indoors or have them outside, ensure your container receives full sun or a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Give your freshly planted potatoes plenty of water. Keeping your soil damp but not wet is one of the essential elements of planting potatoes in pots.
At least once a day, inspect the container. Poke your finger at least an inch into the soil to check the moisture level. Your potato plant is ready for water if it seems dry. Water your potato container plants more frequently if it’s particularly hot or windy.
Water deeply until the water flows from the bottom of your vessel. The benefit of using containers is you see when you’ve watered thoroughly. Look for water seeping out of the bottom of the container to see whether they have enough water. Mulch on top helps retain soil moisture.
More Hilling as Your Potatoes Grow
Hill your potato plants once they reach about 6 inches tall. Surround potato plants with a couple of inches of soil and cover the developing stems at the bottom, known as hilling.
Make sure you don’t break any of the plant structures in the process. The idea is to bury about a third, so the bottom leaves are covered in soil. The buried stalks yield more potatoes; therefore, hilling is necessary for a successful harvest.
As your plants grow, repeat the hilling technique a couple more times. Stop when the dirt reaches the top of your vessel. Potato plants develop quickly, so check them often to ensure they don’t get ahead of you.
Harvesting after Planting Potatoes in Pots
Potato growth time can take from two to three months. After your plants flower, harvest potatoes at any time. Reach down into your container’s soil and carefully pluck out a handful of new potatoes at a time. When the plants turn yellow and die back late in the season, harvest all remaining potato crops at once.
Turning the container over and dumping the contents onto a tarp is the easiest way to do this. After that, freely dig through the earth in search of every potato. You might come across a few small potatoes, but don’t throw them away. Those potatoes are some of the sweetest, and they’re ideal for using whole in a stew.
After learning how to plant potatoes in pots and successfully harvesting delicious new potatoes, store them correctly to increase their shelflife and enjoy your homegrown potatoes longer. Either cook your potatoes straight away or save them for later.
The way to tell if raw potatoes are bad is easy. Mushy, smelly potatoes have spoiled and should be thrown away.
Start by wiping off the dirt and drying them for a few days before storing them. Paper bags or baskets are ideal storage options for potatoes as they enable them to breathe. Store your early potatoes well and enjoy them throughout the season.
Nothing beats the taste of freshly harvested potatoes. Plant-potatoes in containers if you don’t have enough space in your garden or if you don’t have access to a garden at all. Potatoes are simple to grow and make a healthy addition to meals.
Potatoes are high in vitamin C and B6, iron, and potassium. Fiber is an added benefit of potatoes when eaten with the skin. Cultivate your own potatoes and avoid pesticides sprayed on grocery store potatoes.
Whether you’re interested in heirlooms or bakers, learning how to plant potatoes in pots enables you to have the freshest produce for delicious fingerling potatoes or the very best fries.
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