General Question

canidmajor's avatar

Has anyone here tried growing potatoes in pots?

Asked by canidmajor (18685points) February 22nd, 2015

I have read an article or two about doing this, I was wondering if anyone has experience with it. I have a small garden area, anything that can be reasonably relegated to a small space and/or maybe a vertical structure would be nice.


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21 Answers

fluthernutter's avatar

Yes and no. I didn’t set out to grow potatoes. Just had an old potato that started sprouting, so I stuck it in a pot. Mostly interested in drawing it. But when I threw it out, I did notice that several small potatoes had sprouted under the dirt. I’m thinking if I can grow them quasi-inadvertently in a 5” pot, you’re good to go.

jaytkay's avatar

No, but I really love the idea of a potato tower. I’ve had this in the back of my mind forever, but never executed the plan.

There are lots of plans online like this PDF.

Washington State University Extension

flip86's avatar

I’ve never grown potatoes in pots but I did grow jalapenos and bell peppers in 5 gallon buckets. They grew really well. I got a ton of jalapenos. Didn’t get many bells and they were not like the bells in the supermarket. They were small but tasted great.

I tried tomatoes in the buckets too and it didn’t work out so well. I used the wrong variety.

canidmajor's avatar

@jaytkay: Thanks for the link! I have a bunch of clean (not pressure treated or tainted) pallets I can take apart to build the tower. I may give that a try.

@flip86: I have had wonderful success with pots for just about everything, I just haven’t tried tubers, hence the question. For your own info, I had a stunning crop of varied heirloom tomatoes out of pots last summer.

Coloma's avatar

I grew some purple potatoes and other fingerings in a wooden box about 4×4 and 2 feet deep a few years ago. Open bottom, filled with soil like a raised bed.
The yield was not what I expected. Enough for several nice meals, several big big bowls of boiled/steamed potatoes, but for all the work I wasn’t that impressed. haha

canidmajor's avatar

A couple of the articles mentioned that this method was not good for high yield, but that the harvest is very tasty and tender. Was that your experience @Coloma? It sounds like something to do for specials, not for winter storage.

Coloma's avatar

@canidmajor Yes, they were gourmet delicious but just disappointing as I was expecting a lot more than I got. The purple fingerlings were to die for though. I’d get a specialty catalog for interesting seedlings and maybe you can find some higher yield small varieties.

canidmajor's avatar

@Coloma: Thanks for the tip, I would love the purple fingerlings. A nice little exotic for the effort.

@flip86: Good looking peppers, there! I’ve had great luck with hot peppers in pots, not so much with bells. I get very few, very good red bells. I’d like a bigger yield.

jaytkay's avatar

Here are pics of my plants. Had to show them off.

One of my basil plants a few years ago. If you grow basil, you know the delicious spicy smell when you rub your fingers on the leaves.

Check out my praying mantis visitor to my little three-pot urban garden.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Strauss's avatar

I grew some potatoes year before last. (Don’t even ask me about last year’s garden!)

I was able to get about 5 pounds of various sized-potatoes out of a 4’ x 4’ square.

Coloma's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Yes, me too. Only a few pounds from a 4×4 and 2 foot deep box. Man, you’d need to plant an acre to harvest 100 lbs. haha

bossob's avatar

@canidmajor To get the most taters in the smallest space, consider a potato tower. There are many options for making them. One year, I used an old-school galvanized garbage can with a rusted out bottom. I got 70 potatoes from it, in a footprint of less than 4 square feet.

But here’s the secret to success using a tower, that is seldom mentioned: there are determinate and indeterminate potatoes. Determinate potatoes will only produce new taters at the level of the seed potato. Indeterminate potatoes will produce all along the vine (main stalk) as the new growth is covered up.

In my first year of trying a tower, it was purely by luck that I chose an indeterminate variety and had success. The following couple years, my tower was a dud, and I only got taters on the very bottom. It took a lot of reading to figure out was going on. I had never heard of determinate and indeterminate potatoes.

canidmajor's avatar

I had no idea about that either, @bossob, thanks for the info. I will definitely read up on that! Are “indeterminate” and “determinate” separate types? Or separated within each type?

bossob's avatar

By variety.


Determinate: Red La Soda, Norgold Russet, Yukon Gold
Indeterminate: Russet Burbank, German Butterball, Nicola

Sometimes determinates are called ‘short season’, and indeterminates are called ‘long season’, but I don’t know for sure if the ‘length of season’ terminology is accurate for all varieties.

canidmajor's avatar

Thank you. This info will likely save me some frustration.

longgone's avatar

I just read an article on this – just dropping in to add: Some potatoes are treated so as not to produce sprouts. Go with organic ones to be safe.

canidmajor's avatar

@longgone: I would be using seed potatoes, probably heirloom, probably something I’ve never tried before. I enjoy being surprised by my garden. :-)

gailcalled's avatar

@canidmajor; My new mantra:

I enjoy being surprised by my garden.

Strauss's avatar

I also enjoy being surprised by my garden.

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