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How To Use A Trash Can To Grow Potatoes

Updated on March 2, 2014
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Seed potatos sprouting in an egg carton

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Holes drilled in a garbage can

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Why Grow Your Own Potatos?

Growing your own potatos is easy and fun. When you grow your own food there is a feeling of satisfaction that you just don't get from picking up a bag at the grocery store. You know that your own homegrown potatos are fresh. And nothing beats the great flavor of a fresh homegrown potato.

Seed Potatos

A seed potato is really just a potato that has hopefully two to three sprouts coming off of it. While you could use potatoes that have been found in the back of the cupboard and starting to sprout. I would recommend purchasing good quality seed potato's from a reputable source such as the territorial seed company http://www.territorialseed.com/category/seed_potatoes/a . Good quality seed potatos are more likely to be disease free and produce a better tasting potato. There are so many fun varieties to try.

Prepare your trashcan

Prepare your trash can by drilling holes in it this will provide for the proper drainage and ventilation that your potatos need.

Seed potatos placed in the bottom of your garbage can

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Putting it all together

You may want to place a single layer of weed fabric in the bottom of the trash can. This will help contain the soil in the can. Then add a six inch layer of high quality nutrient rich organic soil in the bottom of the can. Next place five to six good looking seed potatos on top of the soil. Then just cover the potatos with a few more inches of soil just so the sprouts are poking out but the potato is covered.

New potato plants just starting to sprout

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Leafy green potato plants growing taller!

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New potato plants

Plant your potatos in the late Spring. When the danger of frost has passed but it is still early enough to take advantage of all that free Spring rain. The soil needs to be 45 degrees or warmer for the new plants to grow. Be sure they don't get too much water or it could cause your potatos to rot. Hopefully the holes that you have drilled in the bottom of your can will keep the soil well drained.

In just a couple of weeks you will notice new leafy little potato plants. Cover these up with a few more inches of soil. I know it seems like a terrible thing to do but this coaxes the plants to grow taller and new little potatos buds will begin to grow under the soil. It isn't unusual for new potatos to pop up to the surface. If you notice this cover them up immediately you dont want to let your potatoes be exposed to the sun.

Flowering potato plants

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Mature potato plants

When your potatos plants are mature they will begin to flower. The potato flowers are surprisingly pretty purple with a yellow center. When these flower begin to die off you will know it is time to harvest your potatoes.

Dump your soil onto a large tarp

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Harvest Time!

When it is time for the great potato harvest just dump your soil onto a large tarp. You may be surprised at the great bounty of potatos that have been just waiting to be discovered by you. Children love to sort through the soil to find potatos too.

When you have collected all of your potatos do not wash them! Dust them off with a rag and let them dry out for a few days. Then store them away in a cool dry well ventilated place until to are ready to use them. Never store them near onions they give off a gas that will cause your potatos to rot faster.


Growing potatos in a trash can

Avoiding potato soil disease

Potato flower

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About the author

My name is Karen Shiley. I live in the beautiful evergreen Washington state. I have an adventurous spirit and love to share what I learn with everyone. I like science, gardening, cooking, reading, daytrips and above all else my amazing family who supply me with endless amusment and happiness. I originally published this article on 2/2/13.


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      Karen Shiley 4 years ago from Washington

      Thank you MarleneB. Good luck with your potatos!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I learned a lot about growing potatoes. The accompanying videos are excellent, especially with a little history lesson in the second video. I'm glad I read your hub and watched the videos, too.