Grow 40lbs of Potatoes in a Container! Part 1

April 22, 2016 , In: Gardening, Planting, Potatoes, Vegetables , With: No Comments

Living in a city, growing vegetables can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a yard, as most people don’t. However, you can grow enough veggies for a whole family on a patio if you do it correctly!

2016-04-02 18.14.05Potatoes are a root vegetable, and the more room you have for the roots, the more potatoes you will grow. In a garden, this means digging down and having a lot of loose soil very deep so the potatoes can grow DOWN and make more roots. But you can do all this in a container, and grow a TON of potatoes in a large container.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 very tall, very wide planter – there are some great soft planters that you can collapse and put away during the winter, and they’re cheap and super durable
  • Potting soil, or dirt + compost
  • Seed potatoes (don’t use grocery store potatoes as they’re typically sprayed to inhibit growth)

Step 1: Prep giant planter

2016-04-02 18.16.58Make sure the planter has some small holes in the bottom, or you can get rot. Fill the planter with 6″ of dirt, and gently pack it down.

Step 2: Plant potatoes

Remember the fall harvest potatoes from last year? I let a bunch of them go, and they’ve been putting out shoots for months. Now, I picked the best of them and planted them. Normally you want at least 12″ between potato plants, but because we’re growing vertical, I planted them about 6″ apart, in a ring around the outside, and one in the middle. 2016-04-02 18.16.15

Cover the potatoes with about 6″ of dirt, and gently pat the dirt down. Water enough to wet the soil, and add some compost tea for fertilizer (or mix compost with the soil).

Step 3: Wait for them to grow

Hello potatoes!

Hello potatoes!

Eventually, you’ll start to see the plants growing above the soil. Wait until each of the potato plants have broken the surface of the dirt, then cover them with another 6″ of dirt. Gently pat down the dirt.

The reason you’re doing this is because you want the plant to direct its energy into growing roots (aka, potatoes) instead of plants. As you keep burying the plants, the part that is underground grows more roots, and more potatoes. You’re trying to make every square inch of the bucket grow potatoes.

2016-04-19 18.20.01

Goodbye potatoes!

Step 4: Repeat

Again, wait for the plants to come up, then bury them, pat down, water. Keep this up until you’re about 2-4″ from the top of the planter, and then leave it in a sunny area, water, fertilize.

Wait until the plants die, then eventually fall over, and they’ll be ready for harvest, but I’ll do another post on that for part 2!

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