Video: How to Grow Potatoes in Containers

comments (0) March 30th, 2010

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Video Length: 2:13
Produced by: Kate Geruntho Frank and Brandi Spade. Edited by Tom Olivares.

What's not to love about potatoes? They're tasty, require little maintenance to grow, and even produce pretty flowers. If you have the right container, you don't even need to plant them in the ground.

Garbage cans are a great option for gardeners who don't have a lot of space. They are deep and wide enough, are perfect for drilling drainage holes in, and are afforable.

Materials You Will Need
A garbage can
Potato starts
Potting mix

You can purchase potato starts from a nursery or garden center, or you can sprout them at home from potatoes you bought in a grocery store or at a farmer's market.

Step 1. Wash the container with soap and water. Then rinse.

Step 2. Drill holes in the bottom and along the sides of the container to ensure plenty of drainage. If you don't have a drill, use a hammer and a nail to pound holes in the plastic.

Step 3. Fill your garbage can up to about five inches from the top with potting mix. If you leave any more space between the soil line and the top of the can, the sides of the can will shade the potato starts.

Step 4. Press your potato starts about six inches into the soil with the eyes facing up. If your starts have eyes on both sides, you can cut them in half to make them go a little further. Plant only one or two starts per can so the soil isn't quickly sapped of nutrients.

Step 5. Cover your starts with about an inch of soil. Water thoroughly but don't leave the soil sopping wet.

During the growing season, if you notice the tubers showing through the top of the soil, mound more soil on top of the tubers, leaving several inches of the plant above the soil line. Potato tubers that are directly exposed to the sun will turn green, which can leave them tasting bitter and potentially toxic.

Potato starts require minimal care in a can. Keep them watered during the growing season and fertilize them once after you've planted them and they've grown a couple of inches. If you fertilize them too much, you'll end up with lush, green foliage and not enough tubers.

Potatoes will start to yellow and die back when they're ready to be harvested. Just before that, when they're starting to turn yellow, dig down a couple of inches and pull a few out to test for size. When they've completely died back, they're ready for you to harvest.

More on growing potatoes and cooking with them...

posted in: potatoes, containers, Container Gardening