Growing your own potatoes can be a rewarding experience, and you don’t need a large garden to do it. Even if you live in a place with limited outdoor space, you can still grow potatoes in a pot or container – as long as it’s large.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you successfully grow potatoes in a pot.
Choosing Your Pot
First, select an appropriate pot for your potatoes. Potatoes need plenty of room to grow, so choose a large, deep pot or container with a capacity of at least 10 gallons. We have previously reviewed ideal grow bags because they are low-cost and very adaptable.
The pot should also have drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging, which could lead to root rot.
Choosing Your Seed Potatoes
When choosing your potatoes, use seed potatoes rather than supermarket ones. Seed potatoes are certified disease-free and are bred to produce a good crop. You can find seed potatoes in garden centres or online; make sure you choose a tasty variety.
Preparing Your Pot
Before planting, add a layer of potting compost or well-rotted manure to the bottom of your pot – around 10-15 cm deep. The compost should be light and well-draining.
Planting Your Seed Potatoes
Next, place your seed potatoes on top of the compost layer in your pot. If you’re using a larger pot, you can plant several seed potatoes, but make sure to leave enough space between them (at least 6 inches).
Once the potatoes are placed, cover them with an additional 10-15 cm of compost. Water the compost well, but avoid drenching it.
Caring for Your Potato Plant
Place your pot in a sunny spot. The more sun your potatoes get, the better they will grow.
As the potato plants start to grow, they will need more soil. When the shoots reach about 20 cm tall, add more compost around them, leaving just the top few leaves sticking out. This process, known as “earthing up”, encourages the plant to produce more tubers and prevents the potatoes from getting sunburned, which can cause them to turn green and become inedible.
Keep the compost moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can cause the potatoes to rot.
Harvesting Your Potatoes
Potatoes are typically ready to harvest about 10-20 weeks after planting, depending on the variety.
A common practice is to wait until the plant’s foliage has flowered and started to die back. At this point, you can carefully dig around in the pot to check the size of the potatoes. If they’re a good size, you can harvest them.
To harvest, simply tip out the contents of the pot and sift through the compost to find your potatoes.
In conclusion, growing potatoes in a pot is a simple and rewarding gardening activity. It offers an ideal solution for those with limited garden space and is a fun project for adults and children. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to harvesting your own home-grown potatoes.
Brian Sheridan has an allotment in Edgbaston and is a competitive grower. Brian is also a keen photographer and loves cooking. Brian and his wife Mary will also be running a stall at Edgebaston artisan market this year, selling products made from the allotment, including his award-winning relish!