A lot of people like growing potatoes because they grow quickly and it’s relatively easy to grow potatoes. They can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked, which in Northern climates that means they can be planted in late winter and early spring, depending on how cold it gets where you live, but they can also be planted all year round in warmer climates, such as those found in the South. In this article, I’ll go over some of the best ways to grow potatoes and then give you six tips to help you grow perfect potatoes every time!
1) Grow Potatoes in Bags
When you want to grow potatoes, potato bags are an option. The bags are sturdy and long-lasting, so they can be used again each year. You can buy them at gardening centers or online, or make your own out of recycled materials such as burlap bags and plastic sheeting. In just a few steps you’ll have potatoes in your bag! Bags generally come with drainage holes, but if yours don’t add some holes with a nail.
2) Growing Potatoes in Pots
The biggest advantage to growing potatoes in pots is that you can grow multiple potato plants at one time. With one large bag of potting soil, you could potentially grow 20 or more potatoes at once. This is great if you want to save money and have a lot of mouths to feed (or just a lot of hungry friends). A single bag of potting soil should last throughout your entire growing season. You will need to make sure that your plants receive enough sunlight, but otherwise, they are simple to care for.
3) Growing Potatoes in Rows
Plant your potatoes in rows. This is especially important if you’re growing potatoes from seed since it will make harvesting much easier. You can use a hoe to make straight rows in your potato patch, and remember to space them far enough apart that you can reach down and pick them up easily. For best results, you should place about 8-10 seeds per foot of row – or around 40-50 seeds per 10 feet of row. If you want bigger spuds (which most people do), then simply buy certified seed tubers instead.
4) Growing Potatoes in a Raised Bed
A raised bed is simply a rectangle of soil (usually 4’x8′, but it doesn’t have to be) that is separated from its surroundings by a wall that serves as both drainage and support. Because potatoes thrive in high-nitrogen soil, you should enrich your raised bed with aged manure, compost, or other organic material like grass clippings. Make sure to plant well away from any trees, shrubs, or buildings so their roots don’t compete with your spuds for nutrients. The ideal time to plant potatoes is about one month before your last frost date. Also, make sure there are no large stones in the soil; rocks can pierce potato tubers as they grow. For more tips on growing potatoes in pots and buckets, check out our post: Growing Potatoes Indoors? Yes!
5) Growing Potatoes in Buckets
If you want to try growing potatoes in buckets, remember that you have to make sure that you will water them regularly. There are many advantages of using a bucket for growing potatoes. For example, you can stack buckets on top of each other to save space, which is great if you do not have enough space or if your garden bed is small. Also, since they are below ground level they will be protected from wind and cold weather. This allows them to grow even during fall when frost or hard freezes might occur outside. However, it is important to note that you should keep an eye on their progress and harvest before the frost gets them (no matter what time of year it is). As long as there is no frost yet, you can continue harvesting from your potato bucket until most of its content has been used up.
6) In an Ice Chest
A large ice chest is a great way to start a potato garden because it’s cheap and easy to find. You just need to drill or cut some holes in it so that water can get inside when you water your potatoes. If you want, you can also drill holes in it so that light can get inside as well. This isn’t necessary but will help encourage your plants to grow more quickly. It’s also worth pointing out that plastic bags don’t work very well; they do not breathe very well and tend to heat up in direct sunlight. So if you really want to go old school here I would recommend using burlap bags instead of plastic ones. Burlap sacks are cheap and work great!
7) Use Cardboard Boxes
While potatoes need plenty of sunlight to thrive, you’ll also want to make sure they don’t dry out. Cardboard boxes, covered with a breathable material like burlap or cheesecloth, provide optimal protection from extreme temperatures while allowing water and airflow. If you don’t have any cardboard boxes handy, try using thick sheets of newspaper in place of traditional mulch. Your plants will appreciate these easy-to-make but effective potato sacks! Put together an inexpensive soil mixture made up of equal parts sifted compost, finely ground bark dust, and sand; use your palms to mix them together until well blended. Add some slow-release fertilizer at a ratio of 4-1-1 into your bin.
8) In a Garbage Bag
If you live in a region that sees long, cold winters but short growing seasons, potatoes are well-suited to container gardens. Simply plant your seed potatoes in a large garbage bag and hang it on a hook or nail somewhere out of direct sunlight. Each day, check to make sure they’re not drying out; add water if needed. As new leaves grow, poke holes in between each one so air can circulate. The leaves will die back as time passes; don’t let them rot inside their baggy home.