While we don’t grow them in the 59th Street Community Garden, potatoes are a simple vegetable to grow and even easier one to cook. Typically, potatoes require a large amount of garden space and a tedious amount of digging. But, by growing potatoes in containers instead of in the ground, you can achieve an equally bountiful crop and use a third of the space.
The traditional method for growing potatoes is to plant the seedlings in a long row, then mound the earth up around them as the plants grow (usually when they reach about 7 – 9 inches in height), to avoid the tubers from being exposed to the sun. Once the potatoes are ready to harvest, they are dug up.
The non-traditional method for growing potatoes is to use either commercial grade planters or to build your own planter out of household materials.
Ready-to-Use Potato Planters
There are various commercially available potato planters, ranging from patio potato planters to potato sacks and the potato barrel. They are available in different sizes depending on the amount of space you have available.
These commercial potato planters are specifically designed for the job; one of the main benefits is that they have removable openings near the base. This enables you to easily access the potatoes when you are ready to harvest them. They also add an ornamental look to your patio, porch, or garden!
Home-made Potato Planters
Alternatives to buying commercial potato planters are growing potatoes in grow bags, in larger plant pots or plastic containers, in wooden boxes, and even in recycled tires.
The main benefits of growing potatoes in these alternative containers is cost - you may already have large planters or pots around your house, or you may be handy enough to construct a potato box out of scraps of wood.
The biggest con with home-made planters is the difficulty of harvesting the potatoes. Turning over a large, heavy pot is not only a backbreaker, but it is also a dirty job. Cutting a growbag to bits or digging through a wooden box is equally as messy. But, if you don’t mind the cleanup, then the pros out way the cons.