Potatoes are absolutely one of the easiest things to grow and you can plant them in just about anything.
For years we grew them in a series of old garbage cans that we had drilled holes in and even in a big flower pot in our old kitchen.
Then we moved on to growing a clawfoot bathtub full of potatoes
which I somehow don’t have a photo of. Hey look what I found! Photos from last year of me tending to the potatoes with a baby on my back!
This year its full of beans and greens.
This year I’m reusing some grow bags that were given to us and I have them growing in a completely neglected space. It’s the retaining wall of our front yard and neighbours parking space. There are some hanging and some just tucked behind my bicycle.
So to plant potatoes first you’ll need some seed potatoes. You can either buy these specially or use ones from th
e grocery store that have grown eyes. Its best to go organic as some grocery store potatoes have been treated so they wont grow eyes, but really most will work especially if you gently wash them. Be careful not to scrub off those eyes, that’s where the shoots are going to grow.
This year we’re planting a combination of organic heirloom seed potatoes including Russian Blues and Purples as well as Rose Finn Apple fingerlings and a bag of organic red potatoes that sprouted on us by accident.
You can either plant the whole potato or cut them up. It’s a matter of personal preference. I cut mine in half, making sure there is at least one eye per piece and then leave them in a dark spot for the cut to heal over night.
The next day, you can start planting. I like about 4 inches of soil under them and about 4 inches of soli above them. You do not need to be tidy. Throw them in willy nilly.
Potatoes need about 6 hours of sun a day. I have normally tucked them away somewhere sort of cool and find they fill a less than perfect corner of the garden. These ones are in a planter in front of the composter.
As they grow, you will add more soil, maybe every two weeks I add a shovel full or so.
After anywhere from 2-4 months the leaves will turn brown and die. That’s how you know its time to harvest! Use your hands if possible as a trowel can really wreck the tender new potatoes. I have just dumped the entire pot over on the patio in the past. Quick and dirty.
Planting, growing and harvesting potatoes are all excellent activities for kids. You really can’t mess it up and digging for them at the end of the season is like a little treasury hunt. Also I haven’t met a kid that wont eat a potato so its an excellent activity to show where our food comes from.
Now a little give away. Use the comments to tell us your favourite food to grow in a container for a chance to win a copy of Lara Lucretia Mrosovsky’s An Illustrated Guide to Growing Food on your Balcony along with three packs of carrot, dill and leek seeds from Cubit’s. This combo perfectly demonstrates companion planting with potatoes in that if they taste good together, they probably grow well together (ie potato leek pizza).
- Find a large container with good drainage.
- Prepare your seed potatoes.
- Plant your potatoes in well draining soil.
- Ongoing water and basic care.
- Add more soil.
So, what’s your favourite food to grow in a container? Let us know in the comments along with your email or twitter handle so we can contact you.
Winner will be chosen by random on June 30th, 2011.