How to Grow Potatoes in Containers


No space? No problem! You can grow potatoes in buckets!

Do you have enough space in your garden to grow potatoes? If your answer is no, you might be surprised: you can grow potatoes anywhere by using containers!

Containers even keep your crop safe from marauding critters that like to dig them up and eat them (armadillos anyone?). There's also no hilling required, so there's less work. And there's no chance that you'll injure the potatoes with shovel or garden fork when you harvest them, because you simply dump out the container.

How to grow potatoes in a trash can.

Are you convinced yet? You can even use empty feed sacks as your "containers" as well as trash cans and five-gallon buckets. I used a metal trash can last year and was very pleased with the results; this year I'm also using kitty litter buckets - because I need more potatoes.

To use any sort of container, you must put holes in the bottom for drainage. Potatoes like well-drained soil or they'll rot into a slimy, smelly mess. Hubby drilled holes in my cat litter buckets for me. If you're using feed sacks, poke holes in the bottom with a screwdriver, and roll the bags down a bit to make them more sturdy.


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Then put several inches of soil and compost on the bottom of the container. Nestle your seed potatoes into this soil and add a few more inches on top. (Oh, you need to "chit" the seed potatoes before planting: cut them into pieces with each piece having an "eye" or two, and let them dry out for a day or so.)

When the plants grow another six inches, add more soil up to the bottom of the leaves. How to grow potatoes in containers.

Eventually you'll see green leaves popping up through the soil. When the plants are about six inches tall, add more soil - or compost, autumn leaves, mulch, etc - right up to the bottom of the leaves. Let them grow again, and add more soil... and repeat until you get to the top of the container. If you're using feed sacks, unroll the sack as you add soil to make room for more dirt.

Of course, the deeper your container, the more potatoes you'll get in the end. New potatoes grow between the top of the soil and the seed potato at the bottom. My cat litter buckets probably won't yield as many potatoes as my trash can, but I have more buckets than trash cans.

When you water your potatoes, water until it runs freely out the holes in the bottom. If you're growing in buckets, leave about an inch of space at the top once you've filled the bucket with soil so it will be easy to water properly.

How to grow potatoes in buckets, containers and feed sacks. From Oak Hill Homestead.

This container is a bit over-filled, but the dirt will settle and leave more space at the top for watering.

Speaking of settling, your soil will settle a bit in the container, so be prepared to top it off occasionally as needed.

Eventually your potato plants will flower, and after that the leaves will die back. Your potatoes are ready to harvest at this point. Just dump out your container and gather your potatoes. I dump the soil from my containers on my compost pile, clean my containers well, and use new soil the following year.

How to grow your potatoes in pots, buckets, containers and feed sacks. From Oak Hill Homestead.

Don't let your lack of garden space stop you from growing potatoes. You can grow them anywhere, even on a deck or concrete patio. Gather some buckets and get ready to plant.

How to grow potatoes in buckets, pots, trash cans and even feed sacks.


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21 comments

  1. Anonymous3:51 AM

    I'm still learning from you, but I'm improving myself. I absolutely
    liked reading all that is posted on your blog.Keep the tips coming.
    I enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing, this is a great idea for so many people who don't have the space to garden or the ability due to health issues.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I always grow my potatoes in containers. I use half 55-gallon plastic barrels. I get enough for us to eat through fall and winter. By spring I keep enough small ones to be my seed potatoes for the next year. - Margy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Half barrels would be great potato containers - lots of space for taters to form and grow!

      Delete
  4. Sounds like a great way to grow potatoes. Does it also work for sweet potatoes? We don't eat white potatoes anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara, yes, you can grow sweet potatoes in containers too, although it's a slightly different process. Plant them in a deep container, but up at the surface instead of down near the bottom. I grew sweet potatoes in a metal sink last year and am doing it again this year. You'll find that here: http://www.oakhillhomestead.com/2017/06/growing-sweet-potatoes-in-sink.html

      Delete
  5. I love your container gardening ideas. We live in a condo and have grown tomatoes, lettuce and herbs in containers. I had no idea that I could grow potatoes in containers as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can, Leslie! Of course there's a limit to how many you can grow in one container, but you can use as many containers as you have room for!

      Delete
  6. We did this with food grade buckets from Lower when we still lived in the suburbs and it worked great for us. Highly recommend this method if you are short on space. We had a relatively small back yard with a privacy fence. We bought a few landscaping timbers and lined the buckets up against the fence. The purpose of the timbers was to get them off the ground - this helped with ants and other pests. Lining them up around the perimeter made for easy watering and access but they stayed out of the way.
    Thanks Kathi for all your articles - love your site!
    Melissa @ Little Frugal Homestead

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Melissa! Good luck with this year's potatoes!

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  7. I am going to try the sack method this year of growing potatoes. Found you on Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another great way to make more garden space!

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  8. I grew potatoes in an old garbage can when we lived in the subdivision. I'm happy to have more space for them in the garden now. :)

    I'm looking forward to getting my spuds in the ground!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you! Garden space is nice, but I also have to fight gophers, moles and armadillos that love to dig them up.

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  9. We tried this last year. Great post. I need to get going on this years containers of potatoes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you've gotten them in the ground, er, containers!

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  10. My dad keeps telling me about doing this! Seems like a good idea since by the time we go to dig up our potatoes, many times we can’t find them in the ground. This would solve that.
    With how much our crew eat we’d need a bunch of buckets!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those kitty litter buckets work great for us!

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  11. I need to do this! I'm passionate about container gardening and this is one thing I haven't thought about trying. Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Purple potatoes are going in the raised beds today- we've never done containers for them, but the kids want to give it a shot. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete

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