See also the main article on how to grow potatoes.
Potatoes can also be grown in just about any container as long as it is about a foot wide and deep (30cm) and has drainage holes. Plastic containers, pots, half wine barrels, garbage bins or whatever you have lying around are all perfectly fine. If they do not have drainage holes they can usually be drilled in. Some folk have even grown potatoes in sacks and in the middle of stacked tyres. It’s obvious from this that potatoes are happy enough to grow almost anywhere.
All varieties of potato can be grown in containers, as long as the container is large enough. For smaller containers, smaller varieties of potato should be used.
How To Grow Potatoes in Containers
Potato plants are grown from seed potatoes. They often need to be sprouted first. Do this by leaving them in a sunny position inside for 2 or 3 weeks. The eyes of the potato (the knobbly bits) will grow little stems.
Create a 4 inch (10cm) high base of potting mix or compost, place the seed potatoes in and cover with a layer of soil 4-6 inches (10-15cm) high. Potatoes need earthing up as they grow to protect them from sunlight, which is done in the garden by simply scooping up loose soil around them. It’s tricky to do this when grown in a container, so the solution is to add layers of compost or rich garden soil once they reach about 4 inches (10cm) high. The tips of the plant should always be just showing. You may need to add several layers until the plant reaches the top of the container.
Growing Potatoes in Tyres
Some hipster gardeners grow potatoes in tyres. It is certainly a unique look and allows potatoes to be grown in a smaller area such as a small suburban backyard.
The usual rules of planting potatoes apply – find a sunny spot with good drainage and plant at the right time of year (no frost, plenty of warmth). Plant a few seed potatoes in the soil as usual with the eyes facing upwards. The plant will grow upwards through the hole of the tyre. Once it has grown about 8 inches (20cm) above the rim of the first tyre, add another tyre on top of the first and fill the first in with soil. Repeat this process for as long as you like, which is practically about 5 tyres high. What’s happening inside this tyre tower is potato tubers are essentially continually growing in the soil as the plant is being ‘stimulated’ to continue growing by the constant adding of soil. Potato plants grow extremely high within these tyre towers.
Growing potatoes in bags
Similarly to tyres, potatoes can be grown in hessian bags. Use the same guidelines as in containers – place the seed potatoes in a base of potting mix or compost and cover with a layer of soil. At the beginning of the growing process the bag is folded back on itself so that the height of the bag is equal with the height of the soil. As the plant grows, add soil and gradually pull the bag up around the soil.
Growing potatoes in straw
This is another wonderful way to grow potatoes in a “no dig” garden. Rather than soil, the potatoes are covered with stray and manure. This excellent video will tell you all you need to know.