Growing Potatoes in a Laundry Basket

comments (25) June 2nd, 2009 in Gallery

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alouagie alouagie, member
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10 days after planting
About 20 days after planting
About 4 weeks after planting
About 1 1/2 months after planting
10 days after plantingClick To Enlarge

10 days after planting

I bought the laundry baskets at a local dollar store (I have 2 baskets).  I filled the baskets with about 2" of soil & compost, then put a seed potato into each basket (each potato was cut into about 3 pieces with 2-3 eyes each).  I then covered the potato with soil, and have been gradually filling the baskets with soil as the potatoes grow, simulating "hilling" the potatoes in a garden.  The garden center that recommended this method to me said each basket should yield 8-10 lbs of potatoes.  So far, so good!  It's been fun with our kids too, because the potatoes are growing out of the holes in the sides of the baskets. Be sure to keep the baskets watered well - it takes some patience (ie - slow watering) to not have all the water run out the sides of the basket.

More Information: My Own Design
posted in: Gallery, potatoes, containers, Container Gardening

Comments (25)

iceni writes: Actually, any big container will do, a half barrel, an old garbage can, a big flower pot. I do this every year and I can get 20 - 30 lbs of potatoes from each container.I currently have 4 on the go, including an old tin wash tub. and they are growing like crazy. wish I could show you pics.
Just be sure and give them plenty of water, as containers dry out vey quickly.
I have grown all kinds, and it makes no difference so ong as they are kept watered.
Posted: 12:55 pm on July 9th
babra writes: hello
just saw ur post and its very interesting idea. but plz tell me the holes are big how ur soil stays in it??? I m confused. I m a new gardener and planning to plant potatoes in feb the time right? plz do reply
Posted: 6:15 am on January 4th
dayhut writes: Id make an inner ring of cardboard and place it over the greenery at hilling time.
Size it so there is about 2" between the outer basket and the inner cardboard ring. Fill the space between the two with grass clippings, leaves, packed straw - whatever mulch materials you can gather with a rake.
Then, pile on the soil inside the ring to the desired fill level.
Finally, slide the ring straight up - to leave an outer layer of moisture retaining mulch between the outside and the soil wherein the taters grow.
When the harvest is completed, dump the whole basket, soil and leaves, onto the compost pile. Add a sprinkling of wood ashes and turn it in.
Posted: 11:22 pm on May 10th
Islandgirlygirl writes: Question: It looks like you grew all of this from that one little lonely sprouted spud in the bottom. Is that right? Or did you add more that we couldn't see? How long until harvest? Last question: Did you use the technique of adding dirt on top of the leaves called "hilling" or did you just grow that whole laundry basket of potatoes from that one lonely spud?? If this is what just one eyed spud can do-all I can say is WOW! Can't believe how well it grew out!
Posted: 1:09 pm on March 29th
alouagie writes: If you're concerned about growing potatoes in a laundry basket, by all means don't do it. I'm not worried about it, as most plastics are BPA free in general these days, and I'm not heating the plastic to a high enough temperature for it to become unstable. This is my own comfort level, each person has theirs. If you're concerned about plastic containers, find some wooden ones, or metal ones. Problem solved.

As far as when to plant - potatoes take about 3 months to mature, so as long as you have 3 months of warm weather ahead of you, you can plant them about any time. That said, they prefer a cooler, moister environment, so they're generally planted in the spring. In the south, you could certainly try a fall planting (Aug-Sept) I'm in the Cincinnati area and have planted as early as mid-March and as late as mid-May and had good success.
Posted: 11:43 pm on May 29th
grammielewis writes: I'm in a suberb of Dallas tx . Is it too late try growing potatoes in a container?
Posted: 10:26 am on May 16th
grandebbyann writes: I live in South Texas, when is the best time to try to plant potatoes in the basket? This sounds like a great way to go because we have real sandy soil in our yard.
Posted: 4:08 pm on May 14th
GrannyR writes: Me thinks everyone worries to much about this. When I was a kid, my Dad would take the tractor and plow furrows. Us kids would plant potatoes and his next furrow would cover them up and we would do another row. We planted a couple of acres like that, would go up a couple of times a year to hoe them and depend on God to water them--(rain) We grew enough for our family of 7 to last a year and have enough left over for the next years seed. Sometimes, we make things harder than they need to be.
Posted: 11:09 pm on April 20th
Missymoo2 writes: The laundry basket seems like a great idea, but I would be concerned about BPA and other chemicals in the plastic leaching into the potatoes. If you plant in a tainted pot you get a tainted product. It makes no sense to buy organic seed potatoes and then poison them in the container.
Posted: 9:59 am on April 5th
kirby2 writes: I have planted potatoes for several years in 5 gal. plastic buckets. Drilled holes around the bottom for dranage,
planted potato and kept adding dirt as it grew. When time to harvest I just dumped dirt out onto my dirt pile and picked up potatoes.
Posted: 1:40 pm on March 19th
alouagie writes: Also, a note about the comment someone wrote about filling up with compost or grass clippings - I don't recommend this as it will likely produce LOTS of leaves but not as many potatoes. I do use some well-finished compost mixed with dirt, but I would not recommend fresh grass clippings due to the high nitrogen levels in them.
Posted: 9:30 pm on February 28th
alouagie writes: I had completely forgotten I had written this until it showed up on a Pinterest feed of a friend of mine. Too funny. Here are some quick updates... You can use grocery store potatoes if need be, but most are bred and treated to NOT grow eyes quickly or easily, and they very likely may not be organic. You can order seed potatoes through a variety of online sources (Google organic seed poatoes and you'll find a ton) or you can likely find some at a local garden center. Heck I think last year I even saw them at the WalMart garden center (non-organic). You'll likely have quicker growth and a more plentiful yield from seed potatoes. I also now line the laundry baskets with straw to help keep the dirt in, but still allow the potato shoots to grow through the sides. And yes, when you "hill" the potatoes you cover up all but the top few leaves. It's best to hill every 7-10 days and add a little dirt more often than a whole bunch of dirt over a big chunk of the plant at once.
Posted: 9:27 pm on February 28th
gstilwell writes: Alouagie,
Great idea! I'm going to use this, but am going to add a couple of burlap bags as liners--you should be able to get some at your local Tractor Supply for 99 cents ea.-keeps the spuds from being exposed to the sun(toxic Solanine), and will keep the soil from running out when watering.
Posted: 7:56 pm on December 5th
horacefarrow writes: You do not have to have seed potatos just find some at the store and keep for several weeks and the little demples (eyes) will start to sprout. once they have sprouts on them cut them up with one or two sprouts each and plant them they will grow and make potatos. We buy potatos to eat and when they get little sprouts on them when pealing the potatos just cut the eyes out with a good hunk of potato on it. I have use red and white bought from the store for years.
Posted: 9:48 am on March 1st
okgardener10 writes: When adding the soil a little at a time, do you remove the plant leaves that will be in the soil after you add it or do you just add the soil and not worry about the leaves that will be covered up by the added soil?
Posted: 7:35 pm on April 25th
D_Gardener writes: Re: THEVEGGIEGUY

If you don't have seed potatoes, I've heard that an alternative is to use organic potatoes from the grocery store.

Normal grocery store potatoes have most likely been treated with growth inhibiting chemicals and thus might not work as well as seed potatoes (or organic/non-treated potatoes).
Posted: 1:43 pm on March 28th
MaryMD writes: I have been growing potatoes in the ground for 6 years, now, and am wondering if going to containers would reliably increase my yield. I generally plant my seed potatoes about 4 inches in the ground and then hill up until the hill is about 12-15 inches about ground level. I have had no particular pest or disease problems, but since I have used my own potatoes as seed for at least three years, and am told it is time to buy no, certified organic and disease free seed. This seems like a good time to also change how I grow them. Has anyone tried starting each new container a couple weeks after the last to extend the season of fresh, new potatoes? I grow potatoes primarily for baby new potatoes, rather than for storage.
Posted: 12:01 pm on February 17th
TheVeggieGuy writes: Would someone please educate me on "seed potatoes", and if it 100% necessary. I live in Phoenix Arizona and can't wait to plant this February. Any tips on which kind of potato grows best?? Do you really think an Idaho potato knows where it if we don't tell it????? Shhhhh I'll let you know!

Posted: 12:58 pm on January 17th
cardscrapper writes: We decided to try potatoes for the first time this year and we are also using an old plastic garbage can. We drilled holes around the bottom, about 1 - 2 inches from the bottom, then put empty, pastic water bottles on the bottom with holes punched in them and no lids. This is to help keep water wicking when it gets hots or we can't be around to water enough.

Then we put about 3 inches of Mel's mix over the bottles. Next we planted two Yukon Gold potatoes that we cut in half. Another 3 inches of mix over them. As the plant has grown we have added more and more mix to keep the plants almost completely covered. The can is almost completely full now and the plants are amazing!!! We can hadly wait to harvest those potatoes!!! Next year we will add a second garbage can and try the Red potatoes too.
Posted: 5:51 pm on July 2nd
WhatsTheMuck writes: Alouagie, very crafty! Container gardening taken to the next level, for sure. This is my first year doing potatoes (Yellow Finn), and I am also doing the 4X4 wire cage setup, like gordnan, but I am filling with grass clippings/chopped leaves as I go. The potato plants are going nuts, and the seed potatoes were not in very good shape when I planted them (my fault), so if I get anything it's a plus. My wire is a smaller mesh than gordnan's, the standard 2" I think, so I'll have to dig down from the top to get to the potatoes, but I'm hoping the mulch fill does not compact too tightly. I was skeptical about using grass clippings and such, but an article at the Garden City Seeds website said compost, mulch, or soil could be used. We shall see!
Posted: 11:00 am on June 27th
gordnan writes: We are growing our potatoes in a wire cage. The cage is 4 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter. I added soil up to 3 feet high in the cage as the potatoes grew from the bottom. The potato plants are up over the top of the wire now. I put straw along the edges of the wire so the soil wouldn't fall out through the 4 inch wire openings. I'm hoping to have a huge crop of potatoes. I planted 4 varieties with 3 of each type. It takes up much less space in the garden and I will be able to reach through the wire and pick out new potatoes while leaving the rest to grow. Yum, I can't wait.
Posted: 8:59 pm on June 11th
Kate_Frank writes: This makes me wish I had some seed potatoes. Maybe next year...
Posted: 1:25 pm on June 4th
roz writes: Great idea alouagie! I have about 16 plastic, mesh-woven bags (the type that coal, wood, or sometimes rice is sold in), thoroughly washed, with compost and two varieties of potatoes planted. Colleen, an early potato and Sarpo Mira, a Hungarian blight-resistant variety. The bags of spuds are on top of black plastic (hoping to kill the grass and enlarge the garden a bit) and will be putting more compost in the bag as they grow. We shall see! The neighbor is amazed!
Posted: 1:15 pm on June 1st
alouagie writes: I'm growing Red Pontiacs and Kennebecs. Next year if you want to splurge for some "elegant" containers like I have (I laughed at that), check your local dollar store. Mine were a buck each. But I'm sure the garbage can will work great and it's free, so it's even better!
Posted: 12:09 pm on June 1st
Ruth writes: I planted my potato container this weekend, and yours is a lot more elegant than mine. I used an old plastic garbage can that drains through a cracked bottom. I'm attempting to grow blue potatoes.
Posted: 10:37 am on June 1st
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