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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- If using a piece of a potato make sure it has at least one or two eyes.
- 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.
- I staked my plants to keep them off the ground as they were grew rather large and were falling over.
- Water frequently and don’t forget to fertilize.
- 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.
Does growing potatoes in a pot seem simple? It really is!
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.
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 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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