Growing Potatoes in Containers
Did you know one potato can produce up to 10 new potatoes? Growing potatoes is one of my favourite experiences in my garden! It is so easy to do and you don’t need anything fancy.
Potatoes come in many varieties and are tubers! From my experience, they thrive in containers like reusable grocery bags, barrels, felt grow bags and even laundry hampers! This year, I am growing russet and fingerling potatoes in felt pots using the “hilling” method.
What do I need to get started?
- Containers that drain well (I like these felt grow bags)
- Potatoes with eyes *we will chat about seed potatoes vs grocery store potatoes
- You may consider adding compost for extra nutrients
Grocery Store vs Seed Potatoes
While you can grow potatoes successfully from your store-bought potatoes, it is generally recommended to stick to planting seed potatoes from a reputable nursery or catalogue. This is because seed potatoes are certified to be free of diseases that can not only impact your yield but also infect your soil. Removing contaminated soil can be very tricky and is also costly to replace.
I’ll admit, I am growing my potatoes from grocery store produce that sprouted eyes in my cupboard. I couldn’t wait this year and because I am growing in containers, the risk of soil contamination wasn’t as much of a concern to me. If I planned on planting them in a garden bed or large planter, I would have stuck with certified seed potatoes.
Do your potatoes have eyes?
If the potatoes you intend to plant don’t yet have eyes, you can encourage eye growth by placing them in a sunny window. I wait until they are quite pronounced. You may choose to plant the whole potato with eyes facing up, or, you can cut your potato in to smaller pieces. If you do this, make sure each piece has a few eyes on it. You will also want to “chit” your potatoes. In short, if you cut them, make sure you leave them cut side up for a few days to callous over. This will prevent them from rotting beneath the soil. One potato plant can produce up to 10 potatoes- if you are able to cut up your potato, you’re increasing the number of plants and potatoes!
Now you’re ready to plant! Fill your container up with several inches of soil and nutrient-rich compost. I usually fill around 8 inches and then add in my potatoes with the eyes facing up. Cover the potatoes with more soil and/or compost until you can no longer see them. Give them a good water and place them in a place they’ll receive lots of sunshine.
This year, my potatoes were slow to get going. Once they got going though, oh gosh did they grow quickly! I use the “hilling” method to grow potatoes. This means as the greens grow and protrude through the soil, I continuously bury them to encourage more growth and potato production! Keep doing this throughout the season until the greens begin to slow down or you run out of room.
You’ll know your potatoes are ready once the greens die back. Once that happens, you are free to dump out or dig through your container to harvest your spuds!
I hope you found this post helpful as you embark on your potato growing journey. If you’d like to keep up to date with my garden and other creative pursuits, follow me on instagram and pinterest where I post frequently. You can find a link to some of my fave supplies and resources here.