Growing Potatoes in Containers

This fun and easy garden project is bound to be a big hit with the whole family.

Credit: Christina Symons

Starts your kids’ first container garden by planting seed potatoes

Growing potatoes in recycled containers is a wonderful activity for children of all ages. Perfect for small spaces, planting seed potatoes in an upright container such as a clean garbage can will also yield a surprising abundance of spuds at harvest time. As they grow, the leafy stems emerge up and over the opening, resembling a bushy head of hair, especially if you’ve had the foresight to decorate your can “Mr. Potato Head”-style.

1. Picking your potato container

Any medium to large bucket, small garbage can or large pot will do. Select a deep container for the highest yield of potatoes. Punch or drill holes in the bottom of your container (if there aren’t any there already). Paint a face or decorate your container in your own style with acrylic paints or vinyl stickers.

Pick your pot

2. Planting potatoes

Place approximately 15 cm (6 in.) of potting soil in the bottom of your container. Then arrange your prepared seed potatoes, cut side down, on top and cover them with soil. Place the planted can in a sunny spot and water regularly, as required.

As the potatoes grow and green stems emerge, keep filling your container up with soil, so that just the tips of green stems remain uncovered. This internal “hilling” of the plants will ensure that your entire container will be full of potatoes at harvest time.

Plant your potatoes

3. Pulling potatoes

Potatoes are ready to harvest once the plants have flowered. Pull the stems up to release the top layer of potatoes.

4. Picking potatoes

Tip the container over on a tarp and carefully empty the soil to collect your full harvest of potatoes. You will be amazed at how many potatoes it is possible to grow by using the container method.