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Growing Potatoes in Containers


Growing potatoes is simple enough, but often requires a fair bit of garden space, not to mention digging. Growing potatoes in containers enables you to achieve a superb crop of potatoes within a fraction of the space usually required. And kids just love growing potatoes - well, at least they love digging them up, and using a potato planter makes the job even easier!

potato plant clipart

The traditional method for growing potatoes is to plant the seed potatoes in a long row, then mound the earth up around them as the plants grow (usually when they reach about 7 - 9 inches in height), to avoid the tubers from being exposed to the sun. Once the potatoes are ready to harvest, they are dug up.

Potatoes are not fussy about the ground they are grown in, and are often used to help prepare a plot for future vegetable growing. It is not advisable to try growing potatoes in soil which is water-logged or contains too much clay, so try to work some organic matter into the soil before planting.

When we first moved into our current home, we had a sprawling garden with no lawn and loads of weeds and we simply dug over a patch and planted some seed potatoes. The result was good, and we enjoyed the potatoes. The following year we laid most of the garden to lawn and were surprised to find potato plants growing up through it - we had obviously not managed to dig up all the potatoes! That experience alone was enough to make us wary of growing potatoes using the traditional method and encouraged us to look for alternatives.

Growing potatoes in containers was the obvious solution. Not only did it avoid having a lawn scattered with potato plants, but it has also enabled us to grow a lot of potatoes within a very small area, and stagger reaping the potatoes depending on when we wanted to eat them.

digging up potatoes clipart

Commercially available potato planters

Patio Potato PlanterThere are various commercially available potato planters, ranging from patio potato planters through potato sacks and the potato barrel, available in different sizes depending on the amount of space you have available for growing potatoes.

These commercial potato planters are specifically designed for the job, hence one of the main benefits is that they have removable openings near the base to enable you to easily access the potatoes when you are ready to harvest them (see example on right). And rather obviously, they look nice and ornamental!

If looking to buy a potato planter or a potato barrel, ensure it is good quality (sturdy) and suitable for the space you have. It is best to store them inside during the winter to prolong their life expectancy.

Alternative Potato Planters

Alternatives to buying commercial potato planters are growing potatoes in grow bags, in larger plant pots or plastic containers, and in wooden boxes. Growing potatoes in tires is also a very popular method.

The main benefits of growing potatoes in these alternative containers is obviously cost - we may already have large planters or pots hanging around, or be handy enough to construct a wooden box out of scraps of wood, and grow bags are far from expensive.

The main con is that actually getting at the potatoes when they are ready to be harvested can involve having to turn a large, heavy pot upside down (difficult and messy) or cutting a growbag to bits to access them (messy). Not that children mind the mess, but, well, I personally try to avoid too much mess!

potato plant clipart

 






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