How to Grow Potatoes in Small Garden Containers
Growing Potatoes in Bags and Containers
If you only have a small garden, like myself, you can still plant and enjoy a good crop of potatoes.
There are step by step instructions on how to grow them in containers like bags, baskets, or pots.
There are three distinct times to plant out your seed potatoes. I have outlined each one below.
Tips for Growing Early Seed Potatoes
Preparation of the seed potatoes a few weeks before you plant them out is essential for a good crop.
You can plant early seed potatoes in containers in late February to March.
Keep the tender shoots protected from frost by covering the soil with straw or a plastic sheet.
Early potatoes grow quickly and you can harvest a nice crop in about eight weeks.
You will know it is nearly time to pick them when the flowers begin to bloom.
Wait a couple of weeks and then lift the plants up out of the dirt to expose the new potatoes. Only harvest what you are going to eat for the next couple of days.
The remainder left in the containers will still continue to grow.
The early potato called Elisabeth is recommended as the best for growing in containers.
Second Early Seed Potatoes
These can be planted from March to April.
They will take more time to grow. They will be ready to be harvested in about fourteen to sixteen weeks.
You will get a better yield from this crop.
Main Crop Seed Potatoes
You can plant these in April or early May.
These will take the longest to grow. They take about eighteen to twenty weeks until they can be harvested.
The main crop yields the largest amount of potatoes.
There are a variety of containers that can be used: containers, pots, and bags, for example. You have a choice of specially-made barrels, large pots, buckets, or even large supermarket bags. If this is your first time planting potatoes, I would recommend you find something already in your garden that you can use for free.
The container should be at least fifteen to twenty inches in depth and a bit wider at least in width. A large bag will be these measurements in depth so the wider the bag, the more you can plant.
Preparing the Seed Potatoes
When you buy seed potatoes, you will notice they have very small sprouts or eyes coming out of them. You want to encourage growth of these shoots before they are planted.
This Process is Called Chitting:
- Put them, with the eyes facing up, onto a plate or flat surface.
- Place them in a sunny, light, and warm place. If planting in February or March this might be indoors.
- It should take about four to six days for the shoots to grow.
- Use the best to plant out, those with at least two to three sprouts on them. This gives them a head start in the growing process once they are planted outside.
For whatever container you are using, carry out the same steps:
- Make sure the containers you are using have good drainage.
- Add compost to fill a third of the container.
- How many potatoes you plant in each container depends on how large it is. Remember, you need to leave room for them to grow.
- Place the seed potato with the shoots facing up.
- Cover until only the shoots are above the compost.
- Water the pot to settle the plant.
- When the shoots are about ten inches high, add more compost.
- When they grow bigger, do the same again until there is no more room.
- Water when needed.
You will know they are ready to harvest when the flowers have been blooming for a couple of weeks.
You can test to see if they are at the size you want by gently removing some of the topsoil and having a look. Leave to grow to maturity and pick when ready.
Have you grown your own potatoes before
Why you Should Buy Seed Potatoes
I did not want to spend money buying seed potatoes, so I took some from the bag I bought in the supermarket and used them.
This is a common mistake a lot of people make.
My crop was not too bad as you can see from the photos, but there were not many to each bucket.
It would have been more productive if I had bought the seed potatoes.