Growing Potatoes in a ContainerPosted: January 17, 2010
Potatoes are not difficult to grow in the ground, they are much easier to grow in containers. And the most practical container for growing potatoes is a half-barrel container.
Make certain that any container that you use has drainage holes in the bottom. If not, drill four 1-inch holes. You will want to set your containers on bricks to elevate them and keep them from direct contact with the soil.
Next, purchase a good potting mix to use in your containers. To this potting mix add about one shovelful of premoistened peat moss to each 1 cubic foot bag of potting material and mix thoroughly. The peat moss provides the potatoes with the acidity they require. Initially you are going to fill each container only half full of the potting mix.
At this point I already have my potatoes sprouting; some sweet potatoes and some new potatoes, sprouted in the kitchen in water.
Fill your container a third full of potting mix-peat-compost mix.
Water the container two or three times a week during the entire growing period. Because of the drainage holes and the rapid draining nature of the peat mixture, overwatering will not be a problem. Let the hose run gently in the barrel until you can see water escaping from the drainage holes.
Try not to disturb the root system too much, and leave some of the small potatoes to mature to full size. When the plants turn yellow and start to dry up, the rest of the potatoes will have reached full size. Pull up the plants and remove the potatoes. Store your potatoes in a cool, dark place. While in storage, if they develop any green sections or sprouts, cut the sections off before cooking.
When the young potato plants emerge through the surface and are about 8 inches tall, fill the remainder of the barrel (partially burying the young plants) to within 3 inches of the top with the other half of the soil mixture.
The potato plants will grow to about 3 feet tall from the soil surface of the container. The container will soon fill with a network of underground stems, bearing many potatoes. When small blossoms appear on the plants, the tiny, tender new potatoes will be ready to harvest. Simply feel around in the container and pick some.
As the potatoes grow, add more soil and compost. After they reach
the top of the barrel, plant a couple of bush beans in each barrel. This
is a companion plant for potatoes. The beans protect the potatoes
against the Colorado potato beetle, and the potatoes protect the
beans against the Mexican bean beetle. Horseradish is also good for
the potato and distasteful to pests. DO NOT co-plant with onions or
As soon as the potatoes flower you will find little spuds in the soil.