I’ve grown potatoes in large bushel baskets for a couple of years now. I had been doing some reading on the internet and came across some articles about folks that grew potatoes in containers or bushel baskets and I decided to give it a go as I had some bushel baskets just sitting in the garage collecting dust.
These photos are from a couple of years ago and the bushel baskets have now seen better days. Last year I missed growing them but I purchased some big storage totes, had holes drilled in the bottom and will be using them this year. These photos are also from the old deck. The totes will sit on my plant tables.
Potato chits are potatoes that have started to grow those eyes on them. We all have those odd potatoes that get left at the bottom of a container in a cupboard and they start to grow. If the potato is a bigger one and the eyes are growing in a couple of places you can cut the potato into pieces. Each piece of potato should contain at least one eye, but two is better. Let them dry out for a day or so before planting. You can also use seed potatoes purchased from garden centres. I’ve tried both ways and each was successful.
Plant when all danger of frost is gone, so for me that is towards the end of May. Add some dirt to the bottom of the container, set in the potato chits and cover with dirt and press down. I planted about 4 or 5 potato chits in one basket.
When you notice shoots and leaves growing on the potato, cover the stems with dirt. Let the leaves show through. Let grow and repeat the process. As the plants grow you add more soil till you had reached the top of the basket. Covering the stems this way encourages more root growth and will give you more potatoes. Be sure to water on a regular basis. It was easy to pull out any weeds that did appear in the basket and it was also easy to look for potato bugs.
Most varieties of potato will get some small white flowers. This is a good sign that the potatoes are forming below the soil. When the plants died off I knew it was time to gather the potatoes. I say gather instead of dig as the things that attracted me to trying this method was the fact that it was a ‘no dig’ method. No more back breaking digging or fork prongs through the potatoes. I love this no dig process.
All I had to do was lift the bushel basket and tip it out into a wheelbarrow. Then the fun part came of sifting through the soil to find all the potatoes. Potatoes take between 10 to 12 weeks to grow to this stage. Once the potatoes were all found, the dirt can be tipped back into the container for use another time.
You can gather potatoes from all the containers at the same time or just do one at a time as you need the potatoes. Here is the harvest from one container.
I’m looking forward to growing potatoes again this year. Here are the black tubs all set up at the back of the plant tables just waiting to be planted.
As with any experiment it is always a learning situation. I probably could of added some more soil to the basket as I really didn’t take into account the soil settling down, but I’ll learn from that this year.
Here is a delicious way to cook potatoes and other veggies on the bbq.
There is nothing like the taste of homegrown. Do you grow potatoes? Why not try some in a container or in several containers.
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