Container Gardening: Potato Plant Growing Container Gardening: Potato Plant Growing
You do not need a backyard to grow your own potato plant. Any container such as a large terracotta pot, an old tree pot, a large trash can or even an oak barrel cut in half will suffice. It can take anywhere from 65 to 100 days from planting to harvesting your crop, but it is ideal to choose plant potatoes that can be harvested before the first frost.
Step 1-Choosing the Right Container
The first step to planting your own potatoes is container selection. A container that is taller than its diameter is ideal, since it provides sufficient room for the potato plants to develop underground. A container that has a diameter of about 20 inches works well for planting potatoes, allowing room for a few plants to flourish. Make sure your container has adequate drainage holes that are equally spaced to prevent the container from cracking. You might want to put a large ceramic plate under the container to collect the dirty water that will drain out from the holes.
Cut your potatoes if they are bigger than 2 inches in such a way that each chunk has at least 3 eyes on it. Put 5 inches of your potting medium into the container and make sure it's sufficiently moist before planting your potatoes in it. Place your potato chunks with their eye side up into the container and cover them lightly with potting medium, not exceeding more than about 2 inches.
Step 3-Caring for Your Plants
Make sure your container is placed in an area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily and is not exposed to the cold or wind. Water daily to keep your potting medium moist, to prevent malformed potatoes and rot.
Continue adding more potting mix to your container to bury the plant as it continues to develop along the stem. You should keep burying the plant until your container is full of potting mix. Bugs may appear on the leaves and will need to be hand picked, since these are resistant to sprays.
Adding some fertilizer weekly will ensure your crop grows healthy. You can cover your container with a lid if you feel it is cold for the growing plants at night, but be sure to remove it during the day.
Step 4-Harvesting your potatoes
Your potatoes will be ready to harvest once the top of your foliage turns yellowish brown and begins to shrivel. Tilt your container to a side gently and allow the contents to fall onto a tarp or blanket. Spread them on a clean sheet and brush off any remaining soil from their skin, which is very soft at this point and can be damaged easily. Discard the potatoes with black or green spots and store the remaining potatoes in a cool, dry place for usage within the next 6 months.