Organic: How to grow your own pot potatoes

organic-potatoes

Potatoes In A Nutshell And A Recycling Bin!

It’s easy to grow your own pot potatoes and you don’t have to use a traditional barrel, pot or pail you can do what I did. Pot growing potatoes is a great way to still have home-grown organic potatoes even if you are short on space to garden. Growing my own potatoes in a blue recycle bin this year was a new and fun experience for me.

Having a horticulture background, potato plants are nothing new to me but finally having some time to dedicate to my garden, I want to grow as much as I can in as little space possible. As my property does not have a traditional in ground garden and is nowhere near ready for one, I used as many containers as I could, even for potatoes this summer.

potatoes-blue-recycle-bin

How to grow potatoes in a pot or container

Propagation of potatoes can be done either by true seeds, planting a piece of an actual potato (also referred to as planting by seed)  or by rooting a cutting from a potato plant. All of these methods can be done at home using little space, while saving you some money in your grocery budget.

Potatoes can be grown successfully in a traditional garden or a container garden. In milder climates potatoes can be grown year round, not only providing year round home-grown potatoes but can easily be a replenishable crop, using pieces of potatoes from a previous crop to propagate your next crop.

This summer I decided to grow my potatoes in a recycling bin in my backyard. I am very happy with how well my potatoes grew this year, and I didn’t have to dig around in a lot of dirt to harvest them! Next year though I may use a garbage can which will allow more room for them to grow and possibly a much bigger yield. I may just plant a second recycling bin as it really does not take up much space. Filling two recycling bins may not require as much potting soil as a garbage which will keep my costs down, I will have to figure that out.

How to plant potatoes in a container, pot or barrel

  1. Like all plants proper soil selection is important. ‘Dirt’ should never been used in containers, it makes the container too heavy and does not drain well. Potatoes like loose soil and adequate moisture which makes using potting soil ideal as it is very porous giving it a high water holding capacity while being a light, loose growing medium.
  2. Fill only part of your container with some potting soil, I filled approximately 1/3 of the recycling bin. Plant your seed, plant or piece of potato.
  3. If using a piece of a potato make sure it has at least one or two eyes.
  4. As the plant grows and you start to see potatoes showing at the soil surface, hill them up by adding more soil to the container to fully cover them up. Continue doing this throughout the growth of your plant until you can no longer fill the container.
  5. I staked my plants to keep them off the ground as they were grew rather large and were falling over.
  6. Water frequently and don’t forget to fertilize.
  7. When the plant begins to yellow and looks like it’s starting to die harvest your home-grown potatoes. Don’t wait too long at this point or your potatoes may rot.

Organic-potatoes-recycle-bin

Does growing potatoes in a pot seem simple? It really is!

organic-potatoes

As you can see in the picture above, I harvested some nice looking organic potatoes this week and did they ever taste good! They tasted much better than store-bought in my opinion and they came right out of my backyard. It was not only rewarding to eat something so tasty that I grew at home but it also did not take any money out of my grocery budget.

Crop rotation for potatoes

Rotating where you choose to plant is very important for potatoes. Garden plants generally should not be consecutively planted in the same location where another member of the same plant family was previously planted. For example, potatoes are actually in the same family as tomatoes, so potatoes should not be planted where tomatoes were previously grown.

Planting the same crop in the same location will not only attract more pests and disease but the soil is depleted of all the required nutrients from the previous year’s crop.  As not all plants require the same nutrients, switching up plant families allows the soil to replenish itself as different plants add different nutrients to the soil. In containers this is much easier to do then in a garden, just change out the potting soil, done.

Hidden treasure

Did you know that the United Nations declared 2008 as the year of the potato? The UN are referring to the potato as a ‘hidden treasure’. By declaring 2008 the Year of the potato they hoped to raise awareness of the nutritional benefit of potatoes, primarily in developing countries.

Potatoes are most known for their carbohydrate content, but also provide us with vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. If prepared with the potato skins on they are also a source of fibre. Potatoes lack only two essential vitamins, A and D.

Potatoes offer a lot of nutrition but like most things in this world, they are not for everyone and every diet. Being high on the glycemic index they are not a good fit for a low GI diet and being high in starch they should  be eaten in moderation for a diabetic diet.

Growing your own pot potatoes at home doesn’t have to be difficult or require hours digging in the dirt. Do you have an extra recycling bin, rubber maid container or garbage can sitting around that you could use to provide nourishment to your family and save some money in your grocery budget? If you do, then give it a try, you have nothing to lose and potatoes to gain, and lots of them.

katrina cbb

Post Contribution: 

Katrina is regular contributor for Canadian Budget Binder and is as passionate about personal finance as she is gardening. Katrina is a horticulture graduate with over 10 years experience with landscaping and greenhouse production.

Her goal is to share her knowledge and experiences blogging about gardening and her continued passion for personal finance in hopes of motivating others. While being a single mom of two and an in-store marketing representative  for major retail shops she also runs her own Landscaping Services in Southwestern Ontario.

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Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
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Comments

  1. I definitely want to give this a try next year. Katrina, can zucchini be grown in a recycling bin as well or should those plants be planted in the ground? Like you, our backyard isn’t garden ready and would require a lot of work/money to get it to that point so container gardening is a great option for me.

    • Katrina B says:

      Hi Pam, I have yet to grow zucchini this way myself but I have heard it can be done. Let us know how it works for you if you try. Next year I will try this, I do have zucchini in the ground this year

      • Zucchini can be pretty prone to powdery mildew, so from my experience planting it in FL (which might differ a lot from your climate), I’d water with soaker hoses, and make sure it’s not planted in a shady area. The dew needs to be able to evaporate pretty quickly every day otherwise the fungus will take hold. But fresh zucchini tastes amazing, so it’s worth it to try and get it right! =)

  2. Love this! I really really really want to start gardening. I guess I need to stop saying that and just START.

  3. At first I thought you said How to Grow Your Own Pot! Heh!

  4. Great tips! Have never grown potatoes in my yard (or a container). Although store-bought potatoes, even organic, are fairly inexpensive. But still, I think that’s pretty neat. I like the recycling container idea!

  5. Christine Weadick says:

    I need to try this!!!! I hate paying the price for new potatoes every year!! Now I need to find a container…. This is a great idea Katrina!!! A definite try for next year…… I’m in the same boat as others in that I don’t have room for a veggie garden in back…

  6. Wow! How long does it take them to grow? And how moist do you keep the soil? (Does your recycling bin have drainage at the bottom?)

    Also, are the tiny red potatoes at the supermarket just potatoes picked earlier or are they generally a different variety?

    This looks too awesome!

  7. Melanie Funk says:

    What beautiful potatoes :-) I hope mine turn out as nice. I have potatoes in the ground and in pots this year – just waiting for them to start dieing back as they’ve just finished blooming. Did you plant an early or late variety?
    To Plantingourpennies – you can find ‘early’ or ‘late’ potatoes that take different amounts of time to grow. If your worried about time look for an early potatoe variety (90 ish days – Carlton, Norland, Pacific Russet). Potatoes like it moist – not soaking and not dry. Also make sure its not a clear container! Exposure to sunlight on the growing spuds in the dirt will turn them green and poisonous.

  8. This is awesome. I would love to grow my own potatoes. I really want a small garden at our next house. The house we live in now isn’t really suited to having one.

    • Katrina B says:

      It was really easy to do and not much space required at all! Hope you get the space you’d like Holly and get to enjoy your homegrown garden :)

  9. A timely post for us right now, Katrina. We eat LOTS of potatoes and would like to grow them someday soon!

Trackbacks

  1. […] more potato excitement, Katrina at Canadian Budget Binder shows how to grow organic potatoes in a recycling bin. While I don’t think they’d fit in my awesome vertical garden, […]

  2. […] Katrina wrote a great post on Canadian Budget Binder called How to Grow Your Own Pot Potatoes.  (Pot as in “container”.  Get your mind out of the gutter, people! ).  Another […]

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