Growing Potatoes In Containers
How To Grow Potatoes In Containers
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Growing Potatoes In Containers
Potatoes are really easy to grow in containers. You can grow regular white potatoes or sweet potatoes. Almost any container can be used for growing potatoes as long as the container has plenty of holes for drainage and I would strongly suggest placing a few inches of gravel in the bottom of your container to help improve drainage.You don't want your potatoes to set in water and rot.
You want to use high quality potting soil as potatoes need rich soil to grow in. You can mix in 20 percent compost for potatoes but again be sure that your container drains very well. You can use diluted liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks to insure optimal potato growth.
Your potatoes are going to need 6-8 hours of sun a day to insure their best growth. Your potatoes are also going to need water on a regular basis but you don't want your soil staying wet.
You want to go to your local garden supply store and purchase seed potatoes to start your potatoes in your containers. You can also purchase sweet potato plants at your local garden supply store. Both types of potato will grow well in containers. Your potatoes will get quite large so you will want to allow them plenty of room to grow.
Your Soil Is Important When Growing Potatoes
Your soil is very important when growing potatoes. Especially if you grow them in containers. What I always do is mix up good topsoil with well rotted manure and well rotted compost. I usually use 60 percent top soil with 20 percent well rotted manure and 20 percent of well rotted compost. Its very important that any compost or manure be very well rotted or you'll burn your potatoes up. If you have any doubt about how well rotted your compost or manure is only buy it at your local farm and garden center. Be sure to ask them if its still green or very well rotted. They will be able to help you with what kind of manure and compost you need.
If you grow your potatoes in a mix of soil, manure and compost you'll end up with an abundance of homegrown potatoes when you get ready to harvest them. You'll also have nice large potatoes.
If you happen to have a bag of store bought potatoes that have started putting out sprouts its time to grow potatoes. Prepare where your going to be growing your potatoes and then cut up the potatoes leaving each cut up piece of potato with a sprout growing on it. Each piece of potato you plant that has a sprout on it should produce a potato plant. And I've grown some huge crops of potatoes from potatoes I bought from the grocery store that sprouted. There is no reason to throw them away. Just let them sprout well and then plant them to grow more potatoes.
In The American South You Can Grow Potatoes Year Round
Did you know that in some parts of the United States including the American south that you can grow potatoes year round. If you plant your potatoes in the late fall wait until the potatoes are up and then mulch them heavily with straw mulch. The straw mulch will protect your potato plants and you'll have potatoes growing underground all winter long.
You'll need to ask in your farm and garden supply store when they will be having seed potatoes in stock. Some have them only in the spring while others will have them in the spring and then again in the fall. You can also plant potatoes which you have bought from the grocery store if they start growing sprouts on them.
If you plant these you'll want to cut the potatoes up so that each piece of potato that you plant has a sprout or sprouts on it. If you prepare your soil and plant these kind of potatoes in containers you can end up with a great crop of potatoes.
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How To Grow And Produce Potatoes
After you plant your seed potatoes you will want to cover them with a couple of inches of soil. Be sure not to plant your potatoes to deep. You want them covered but you don't want to bury them so deep they can never come up.
When To Water Your Potatoes
You will want to water well. You don't want your soil to stay wet just moist. You want to stick one finger into the soil. If your finger feels dry then you will want to water your potatoes. If you r finger feels moist don't water your potatoes that day.
As your potato plants grow add more soil and compost to the container adding a couple of inches of soil at a time and its okay if you cover up leaves with the compost and soil. When you first plant your potatoes leave about 6-8 inches at the top to keep adding soil and compost later. This will allow more potatoes to develop and grow and this way you will get a lot more potatoes in the end when you pour out the container and harvest the potatoes.
When To Harvest Your Potatoes
You can start to harvest potatoes any time after the potatoes have flowered. Just reach down into the soil and pull out some potatoes. Or allow your potatoes to grow until the potato plants start to die down or turn brown. As soon as this happens you will want to pour out your potatoes and harvest your potato crop. If you have seed potatoes or potatoes from the grocery store that have sprouted you can plant a new crop of potatoes and start growing another crop of potatoes.
New Potatoes And Green Beans
I love to dig out some baby potatoes and cook them in a pot of green beans. You want real small marble to golf ball size potatoes to do this with and all you have to do is harvest a few of the potatoes and scrub them very clean under cold running water.
Season the green beans just like you always do and add the new potatoes to the pot of green beans. I never peel them but you can if you wish to. I think the potato skins add some delicious flavoring to the mix. Try them both ways and see which way you like best.
If You Can't Find Seed Potatoes In Your Area
If you can't find seed potatoes for sale in your paticular area check on the internet for garden supply companies where you can order seed potatoes. Be sure that you order potatoes that will grow well in your particular area. You should have your barrel or container ready to plant your seed potatoes when they arrive. Be prepared to plant them when you receive them.
Container Grown Potato Harvest
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Feed Your Potatoes So They Will Feed You
About every two weeks while your potatoes are growing mix up five gallons of Miracle Grow Plant Food by the package directions and pour the five gallons of Miracle Grow solution into the barrel after the sun has gone down or before the sun has come up.
If you have a ready supply of either well rotted manure or well rotted compost you can in a large container add five gallons of either well rotted manure or compost and 10 gallons of water. Let this solution set and soak for at least 5 days stirring it up well with a stick every day. After 5 days strain off the resulting compost tea and pour it into your potato barrel before the sun comes up or after the sun has set. You can do this about every two weeks and you'll end up with really healthy large potatoes.
Potato Flowers Are A Sign That Your Potatoes Are Producing Potatoes
Growing Potatoes In A Barrel
You can quite easily grow potatoes in a 30-55 gallon barrel. I suggest using a plastic or fiber barrel for the potatoes. Metal barrels can heat up in the sun and are not really great for growing potatoes.
I take 36 gallon plastic barrels and I bore one inch holes in the bottom of the barrel and in rows around the barrel from the bottom to the top. I fill the bottom of the barrel with holes and I put six vertical rows around the barrel. I keep the holes at one inch and this keeps the dirt in and allows for adequate drainage.
I put 12 holes around the barrel on the outside that are 4 inches around. These holes are for inserting seed potatoes into. I cover these holes with newspaper while I fill the barrel with dirt. Once I have the barrel full of dirt I pull the newspaper off these holes and plant seed potatoes in these holes. I also plant seed potatoes in the dirt in the top of the barrel. I end up with huge crops of potatoes this way.
The dirt you put in your barrel needs to be 60 percent top soil, 20 percent well rotted compost and 20 percent well rotted manure. If you'll do this you'll end up with a huge crop of homegrown potatoes. You can set up a barrel like this and plant sweet potaoes in it. Either way I think you'll find that you'll have a great crop of potatoes when you harvest them. Just pour out the dirt on a tarp when your ready to harvest your potatoes. This way you can easily refill your barrel with your soil and start a new crop of potatoes.
I have grown potatoes this way for years now and I always end up with lots of delicious homegrown potatoes.
Read Labels Carefully
Be very careful of what fertilizers and chemicals you use on your potato crop. I try to stay as organic as possible with all of my gardening. But you really do need to slow down and read the label carefully on anything you use in your garden. If you don't feel comfortable with the information on the label don't use that particular product on your potatoes or any other vegetable.
Always keep an eye on your potatoes for any type of disease. Blight can be contagious so if you see it or suspect it isolate those potato plants or get rid of them well away from your garden. You should ask ahead of time at your local farm and garden store if you need to be on the look out for any particular potato diseases in your area. Also ask what type of pest control methods you may need to use. If you do have to use a commercial pest control product on your potato crop read the label on any product carefully so you'll know if you want to use that particular product in your garden or not. I can't stress enough how important it is to always read labels.
Some potato pests like the potato leaf hopper can be picked off by hand. You need to do your own carful research so you know what garden pests like the potato leaf hopper look like.
Water Your Potatoes Well But Don't Overdo It
You should water your potatoes enough to keep the soil moist but it should not be wet. It also should never dry out to the point where the soil is dry and powdery. If the soil feels moist to the touch then no you don't need to water your potato plants. However if the soil a few inches down in the container feels dry your potatoes need water.
Never Water When The Sun Is On The Potatoes
Always water your potatoes before the sun comes up or after the sun sets. Never water your potato plants when the sun is on the potatoes. If you'll remember this simple rule you'll end up with a great crop of potatoes.
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