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How To Grow Potatoes with Potato Recipes

Updated on May 20, 2017
viking305 profile image

L.M.Reid is an Irish writer who has published many articles. She is a keen gardener with plenty of experience.

How To Grow Potatoes

Vegetable Garden Tips
Vegetable Garden Tips | Source

How to Grow Potatoes in Containers

Growing Potatoes in a small garden takes preparation and thought.. They can take up a lot of your garden space because they grow into large plants.

In this article I give you a detailed description of how I do it. I also give you some useful Vegetable Garden Tips on how I use my small space in the garden to grow vegetables

There are a few potato recipes in this article too.

Growing Vegetables

If you only have a small garden like myself you can still plant and enjoy a good crop. Grow them in containers like bags, baskets or pots.

Preparation of the Seed Potatoes a few weeks before you plan to plant them out is essential for a good crop.

When to Plant

There are three distinct times to plant out your seed potatoes. I have outlined each one below.

Planting Seed Potatoes-
Planting Seed Potatoes- | Source

Early Seed Potatoes

  • You can plant early seed potatoes in containers in late February to March.
  • Keep the tender shoots protected from frost by covering the soil with straw or a plastic sheet.
  • Early potatoes grow quickly and you can harvest a nice crop of new potatoes in about eight weeks.
  • You will know it is nearly time to pick your potatoes when the flowers begin to bloom.
  • Wait a couple of weeks and then lift them.
  • Only harvest what you are going to eat for the next couple of days.
  • The potatoes left in the containers will still continue to grow.
  • The early potato called Elisabeth is recommended as the best for growing in containers.

Second Early Seed Potatoes

  • These can be planted from March to April .
  • They will take more time to grow.
  • They will be ready to be harvested in about fourteen to sixteen weeks.
  • You will get a better yield from these Second Early Potatoes.
  • The potato called Gemson is recommended for very good results.

Main Crop Seed Potatoes

  • You can plant these in April or early May and will take the longest to grow.
  • They take about eighteen to twenty weeks until they can be harvested.
  • The main crop yields the largest amount of potatoes.

'Chit' your Seed Potatoes
'Chit' your Seed Potatoes | Source

Garden Containers

How to grow in containers, pots and bags in a small garden

There are a variety of containers that can be used.

You have a choice of specially made barrels, large pot or buckets or even large supermarket bags.

If this is your first time planting potatoes I would recommend you find something in your garden that you can use for free.


If you enjoy growing potatoes then you can buy some better containers next year. The container should be at least fifteen to twenty inches in depth and a bit wider at least in width.

A large bag will be these measurements in depth so the wider the bag you have the more seed potatoes you can plant.

Last year was my first time growing potatoes and I used three buckets that were already in the garden.

I Planted Three in Each Bucket

I grew a lot of potatoes in each bucket but they were very small. So the lesson I learnt here was that less is better.

Seed Potatoes

When you buy seed potatoes you will notice they have very small sprouts or eyes coming out of them.

You want to encourage growth of these shoots before they are planted.

This Process is Called Chitting

  • Put them with the eyes facing up onto a plate or flat surface.
  • Place this in a sunny, light and warm place.
  • If planting in February or March this should be in your house.
  • It should take about four to six days for the shoots to grow.
  • Use the best of the seed potatoes to plant out.
  • This will be those with at least two to three sprouts on them.
  • This gives them a head start in the growing process once they are planted outside.

Chitting | Source

How to Grow Potatoes in a Small Garden

Step by step instructions with photos

Whatever container you are using you carry out the same steps.

  • Make sure the containers you are using have good drainage.
  • Add compost to the pot so that it fills only a third of it.
  • Place the seed potato with the shoots facing up.
  • It depends on how large your container is on the amount of potatoes you plant.
  • Remember you need to leave room for them to grow.
  • Once planted cover the potato until only the shoots are above the compost.
  • Water the pot to settle the plant.
  • When the shoots are about ten inches high cover them again with more compost.
  • When they grow bigger do the same again until there is no more room.
  • Water when needed.

Bucket of potatoes Growing
Bucket of potatoes Growing | Source


You will know they are ready to harvest when the flowers have been blooming for a couple of weeks.

You can test to see if they are at the size you want by gently removing some of the topsoil and having a look.

Leave to grow to maturity and pick when ready.

Growing Potatoes in Containers
Growing Potatoes in Containers | Source

Have you grown your own potatoes before

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Vegetable Garden Tips

When you are filling the containers for planting potatoes use newly bought compost.

Always replace the soil in the containers each year of planting as this will reduce the risk of disease.

You can recycle last years compost in another part of the garden.

Why you Should Buy Seed Potatoes

This is a common mistake a lot of people make

I did not want to spend money buying seed potatoes so I took some from the bag I bought in the supermarket and used them.

My crop was not too bad as you can see from the photos when I harvested them. But there were not many to each bucket.

It would have been more productive if I had bought the seed potatoes

Potatoes Harvested
Potatoes Harvested | Source

Vegetable Gardening

Why not plant some potatoes in a pot or plastic bag this year.

As you can see from the above instructions and photos it is very easy to do.

You do not need very much room at all to grow this versatile vegetable.

I intend growing an Early Seed Crop and a Main Crop this year.

Potato Recipes

There are many ways to cook and eat potatoes. They can be eaten hot or cold so I have written a recipe for each

Potato Salad Recipe


  • Four medium sized potatoes
  • Three scallions or spring onions
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt

Potato Salad with Hamburger
Potato Salad with Hamburger | Source


  • Peel the potatoes and cut up into small squares
  • Put in a pot and add water
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for twenty minutes
  • Remove the water by putting through a colander
  • Leave until cold
  • Chop up the fresh parsley very finely
  • Remove the outer leaves from the scallions and the root at the end.
  • Cut into very small pieces.
  • Add the chopped parsely and dice scallions into the potatoes.
  • Add a tiny bit of salt to your taste
  • Add the mayonaisse and fold in gently
  • Place in the fridge for at least an hour before serving

You can also mash the potatoes as the above recipe and then add the spring onions and parsley. They both taste the same ans the only difference is how the potato salad looks on the plate when served.

Potato Salad
Potato Salad | Source
Homemade Salad
Homemade Salad | Source

How to Cook Mashed Potatoes

it is quick and easy to make mashed potatoes.

It only takes half an hour including preparation time.

Mash can be added to most meals and is very versatile.

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 25 min
  • Yields: Serves four people


  • Four medium size potatoes
  • Large knob of butter
  • Small amount of milk
Mashed Potato Recipe
Mashed Potato Recipe | Source

Mashed potatoes

5 stars from 3 ratings of Potatoes


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them up into small pieces. I usually cut small potatoes in half and larger ones in quarter
  2. Place in a pot and add water
  3. Bring to the boil Simmer for twenty minutes
  4. Remove the water from the potatoes by passing through a colander.
  5. Put the cooked potatoes back into the pot. Add a large knob of butter and a quarter cup of milk
  6. Use a potato masher to mash them. Serve with vegetables and meat to create a tasty meal.
Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes | Source


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    • lmoyer92 profile image

      Leon Moyer 3 years ago

      Well written and helpful article. I like how you added potato recipes into the same hub describing how to grow them. Have any tips on making the perfect baked potato?

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      This is a really great and interesting hub. I have just a very small patio, but am going to try growing potatoes this year in a container. It has been a long time since I grew potatoes and that was in a large garden. Thanks for all the tips and instructions.

    • syzygyastro profile image

      William J. Prest 3 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Thanks for all you input. I will be planting some this year. I now know what went wrong in some previous years and will do things as suggested. I will also be experimenting with yams and sweet potatoes which are an unknown for me.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hello lmoyer02 Yes I got the idea of adding some potato recipes to this article by reading what constitutes a Stella Hub in the Hubpages learning Centre.

      I have written an article about various ways to cook and eat potatoes at this link. The perfect Baked Potato recipe is there too.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hello Phyllis I am delighted I have encouraged you to start growing vegetables again. If your patio gets lots of sun you could buy a couple of tomato plants and grow them too.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 3 years ago from Ireland

      Glad to be of some help syzgyastro. Yes I too made a mistake last year by planting out potatoes I had bought from a supermarket and not buying Seed Potatoes. They did produce a decent crop but not as much as I am hoping to get this year.

      Good luck with the growing of your Yams and Sweet Potatoes this year too.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Yes, definitely tomatoes. I get about 5 hours of full sun, so will give it a try. Thanks.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hello Phyllis it sounds like you will have great growing conditions for tomatoes alright. Have you ever tried growing peppers on your patio, the sun will help them along nicely

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Greetings again, viking. Wow ! you are filling up my patio right quick and nicely. No, I have not tried peppers and I love them. So - now I will have potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers -- plus my herbs (rosemary, sage, basil and thyme). lol this is going to be a fun and productive summer for me thanks to you. I am anxious to get started now. I will check out your hub again, you did have an Amazon link for the seed potatoes, right? I had better order them very soon.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hello Phyllis. lol you will have an array of colour on your patio and be able to eat it. My seed potatoes are already on the table chitting so yes it is a good time to order now.

      The peppers grow just fine when you take a few seeds from any you have bought to eat in the grocery store. So there is no need to buy seeds specially for that. I will be writing an article about my peppers soon so you will be able to see how successful they grew from taking seeds this way.

      Good luck and here's to a bumper crop on your patio

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great info!

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 3 years ago from Ireland

      My potatoes I planted this year are growing nicely. Thank you Maren for taking the time to leave a comment

    • lrdl3535 profile image

      Richard Lindsay 13 months ago from California

      Hi, Great post on potatoes with lots of good information. But I have a question about digging up the potatoes. If you dig up the potatoes when they are small can you eat them? When do they become green and not edible?

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 13 months ago from Ireland

      Hello lrdl3535, Yes the small potatoes can be eaten and are delicious. The potatoes will become green if left uncovered by the soil which allows the light to get at them. You are correct green potatoes should never be eaten.

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