How to Grow Potatoes in your Garden

How To Grow Potatoes in Containers

My potatoes growing in a pot in my small garden

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid

Potato plants can take up a lot of your garden space because they grow into large plants.
If you only have a small garden like myself there is another way to plant and enjoy a good crop of potatoes. Use containers, bags or pots.

When to plant seed potatoes

Early seed potatoes

  • You can plant early seed potatoes in containers in late February or March.
  • But you must keep them protected from frost by covering the soil with a polythene bag or straw.
  • These grow quite quickly and you should be able to harvest a nice crop of new potatoes in about 8 weeks. Once the green leaves have produced the flowers wait a couple of weeks and then lift them.
  • Only pick what you intend to eat that day and the next because they lose their flavour quite quickly. The potatoes left in the containers will still continue to grow nicely.
  • I am going to use the early potato called Elisabeth because this one is recomended as the best for growing in containers.

Second Early Seed Potatoes

  • These can be planted in pots or bags from March to April and will take longer to grow.
  • They will be ready to be harvested in about 14 to 16 weeks. 
  • But you will see a lot more potatoes with these crops.
  • I am going to plant the one called Gemson this year

Main Crop Seed Potatoes

  • These can be planted in April and will take the longest to grow.
  • They take about 18 to 20 weeks until they can be harvested.
  • The main crop yields the largest amount of potatoes per seed potato.
  • I like the taste of Kerr's Pink potatoes so I am going to plants these for my main crop.
  • How to grow potatoes in containers, pots and bags in a small garden

What Containers or pots to use

There are a variety of containers, pots and bags that can be used to grow your crop of potatoes. If this is your first time planting potatoes there is no need to go to the expense of buying pots or containers until you harvest your first crop. That way you can decide if growing potatoes is worth the work for you.

Special growing bags I bought for my potatoes last year

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid
  • Look around your garden or shed and see if you have any spare pots or large buckets. As you can see from my photos I used small buckets for my first ever crop.
  • I put three seed potatoes to each one. But this was way too much. I did get a lot of potatoes in each bucket but they were very small.
  • This year I am going to only put in one seed potato to each bucket.
  • I am also going to plant three into a large bag and see how I go with that.
  • The container or pot you use should be at least 15 to 20 inches in depth and a bit wider at least in width. The bag or sack will easily reach these measurements in depth so the wider the bag you have the more seed potatoes you can plant.

The buckets I planted seed potatoes in last year 

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid

How to Chit Seed Potatoes

  • When you buy the seed potatoes you need to chit them for a few days before planting.
  • Place the potatoes with the eyes up into a container in a sunny and warm spot.
  • If planting in February this will have to be in your house.
  • Wait until the eyes have sprouted a couple of inches.
  • Try to use the seed potatoes that have at least two to three sprouts on them. This gives them a head start once they are planted in the containers.

How to chit seed potatoes

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid

Whatever container you are using the method is the same

My potatoes growing nicely in this container

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid
  • Make sure you have the containers with holes in the end for drainage.
  • Fill it with good compost a third of the way.
  • Plant the seed potato with the shoots facing up.
  • Depending on how big the container is you will decide how many to plant in each one. Do not put in too many or you will have the same result as I did last year.
  • Cover with 5 inches of compost.
  • Water well and leave to grow, watering when necessary.
  • When the shoots are around 4 inches high cover them with more compost.
  • When they reappear do the same until the container is full except for 2 inches at the top.

My crop of potatoes in two buckets in 2013

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid

Leave to grow to maturity

Always replace the soil in the containers each year of planting as this will reduce the risk of disease. The old compost can be spread onto your other growing areas in the garden.

And please do not make the mistake I made last year.

It was my first attempt at growing potatoes so I took some from the bag I bought in the supermarket and used them. My crop was okay as you can see from the photos but not good enough by any means.

Harvesting my potatoes in 2013

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid

Some of the potatoes I harvested from my containers 

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid

I will be posting updates of all the vegetables I will be growing in my garden this year so come back every so often and see how I am doing.

Here are some photos of dinners I made where I was able to use the potatoes I grew in my garden. 

Roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes and roast potatoes

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid

Steak and Onion Pie with mashed and roast potatoes

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid

A Lamb Chop with vegetables and New Potatoes from my garden

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid

I made homemade potato salad with my potatoes from the garden

Photo - Copyright 2014. L.M.Reid

You Tube Videos - How to Grow Potatoes 

How to Grow Potatoes Anywhere

Did I Get Potatoes? Potato Harvest Growing in Containers

How to Plant, Grow, & Harvest Potatoes Organically 

Harvesting Potatoes from Potato Bags

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