How to Grow Potatoes in a container

Step 1

Cut firm, certified seed potatoes into small egg-size pieces, each with one or two “eye” or stem buds, and allowed to dry a day or two before being planted. Small potatoes can be planted whole. You may let the seed pieces sprout a little before planting, but this is not necessary.

Step 2

Prepare the Potatoes

Container Preparation

Any medium size container that holds at least two or three gallons of soil can be used. Examples include baskets, large paint buckets, trash cans, or even stacks of used car tires (no, they are not poisonous to plants or people). Make sure there are adequate holes for excess water to drain.

Fill the bottom of each container with a few inches of potting soil, which will be where potato roots will grow. Mix in a scant handful of all-purpose or organic fertilizer. Place the container where it will get sunlight but not too much radiated heat from a wall or patio.

Step 3

Plant the Seed Pieces

Plant three or four potato seed pieces in the soil – don’t crowd them – and water well to get the plants started. Continue to water as needed to keep plants moist, not wet.

Step 4

Cover Plant Stems as They Grow

Once plants begin to grow, gently pile new soil or mulch around the lower stems to keep them in total darkness. Continue weekly until the containers are almost filled. If using tires, just add more tires as needed, and fill them with fresh soil or mulch. Continue to water down deep around roots, but do not keep the plants wet. 

Step 5


Within three months you should be able to gently prod around the lower stems with your fingers for small new potatoes. Even the tiniest are very tasty. For larger spuds, leave the plants alone for about four months or until they start to turn yellow, whichever comes first. Simply turn the buckets over or remove tires to find all the fresh tubers you have grown.

Use small potatoes as soon as possible, but store larger ones in a cool, dark area for several weeks, checking regularly for shriveling or decay. 

Potato Root Modeling

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