Use our easy tips for growing potatoes in containers, tires, or straw.
Use our planting chart for when and how to grow potato plants in the ground.
Planting potatoes in containers, tires, straw or pots is a fun and amazing project for backyard gardeners.
This method of cultivating potatoes is ideal for beginner gardeners or those with small amount of space for a vegetable garden!
Growing vegetables at home is fun and a great way to save money.
Who would think that you could grow potatoes in a container garden, in straw or an old tire?
Well, it is not only easy, but has several advantages over raising potatoes in the ground.
Some facts on growing potatoes: These are actually tubers, not roots.
With more than 100 potato varieties from white to red, it is the fourth largest food crop in the world that is cultivated in such diverse countries as China and Ireland.
Depending on the area where you plan to grow potatoes in pots, you can start preparations in late January or early February (mild areas) or late February and early March (moderate areas), or April/May in cooler climate zones, when soil temperature at 60°-70°F for optimal yields.
Potato plants are sensitive to frost.
When you are considering growing potatoes in pots, you only need small spaces to store the container.
You can use a sunny location on the patio, porch, balcony or a flower bed for your potato container, although steps must be taken to ensure that your plants will not be damaged by frost.
Your pots can be as small as 12 inches across the mouth and 12 inches deep, all the way to a full size plastic garbage can, with drainage holes at the bottom.
Whatever size container you choose, the procedure is the same:
Many gardeners prefer growing potatoes in straw on top of the ground or inside an old tire.
When your potato plant reaches maturity, it will start to turn brown and look like it is dying.
When the plant has turned mostly brown, it is time to stop watering for the final two weeks before harvest.
To harvest the potatoes, simply turn your container over, and gently pour the contents on the ground.
It is easy to pick up your potatoes without the risk of damaging them that occurs when digging potatoes from a traditional in-ground garden.
At the end of each season when growing potatoes, it is recommended that the pots be disinfected with a bleach-water mixture (1:10 is ideal) to kill leftover bacteria and viruses.
Potatoes do not need especially rich soil, so regular potting soil will work just fine.
It is also recommended that fresh seed potatoes are planted each year.
You can purchase seed potatoes at nurseries, which ensure that they are completely virus, disease, and pest-free.
Potatoes bought at the grocery store have been sprayed with anti-sprouting agents, and won't work for planting. (Why do mine always sprout in the cupboard anyway?)
When planting potatoes, I buy the smallest seed potatoes available, so that I don't need to cut them into sections, or allow the sections to dry.
I just plant small whole seed potatoes in the bottom of my container.
Another way that is slightly more complicated is once you have your seed potatoes, allow them to undergo a process called chitting.
Just place them in seedling trays with the “eyes” facing the light and put the trays in frost-free rooms with plenty of filtered lights.
You will notice that the “eyes” will pop out after two weeks, at which time you can plant them.
When planting potatoes in soil, it is important to push the tubers about two inches into the soil, five tubers per hill or per pot.
During hot weather, you may need to water your potato plants every day.
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