Growing Potatoes in Containers – How to Plant Potatoes from Eyes
Growing potatoes in containers is something anyone can do! My girls and I do this every year, sometimes more than once a season. Learning how to plant potatoes from eyes on existing ones can cut your grocery bill down using this fun garden trick.
If you find sprouted spuds happily vining away in your pantry, like we did, count yourself lucky!
And, if you’re into composting, sometimes you may discover how to grow potatoes from potatoes completely by accident! I’ve heard of many compost piles taken over by volunteer potato plants.
Growing potatoes from eyes is easy to do and works well with different kinds of potatoes. In the past we’ve grown fingerling potatoes, purple potatoes, red potatoes, and basically anything we have on hand.
In summer of 2022, my youngest and I were both home over the 4th of July with covid. We spent a lot of this time outside soaking up the sun in our backyard, noticing that we felt better outdoors soaking up the Vitamin D!
During this time, we got to harvest garlic and we also planted potatoes from eyes.
Try these tips and easy steps on growing potatoes in containers from existing potatoes with eyes that you have in your pantry.
Growing Potatoes in Containers
Learning how to grow potatoes in a container doesn’t take much experience or luck. Potatoes are pretty resilient and if you’ve ever seen the movie The Martian, you likely already have an idea or two about this. (lol)
Although you can plant potatoes in the ground, then you have to dig them up. You might miss some, and they might take over even more of your garden the following year.
Instead, sometimes it’s better to grow potatoes in containers.
How to Grow Potatoes in a Bucket or Grow Bag
A five-gallon bucket is a great size for growing potatoes. Of course, I’ve also enjoyed growing potatoes in 10-gallon or 20-gallon fabric grow bags.
Growing potatoes in a bucket is a great place to start if you already have soil, sprouted potatoes, and a bucket.
Follow these simple steps to plant potatoes from eyes.
- Begin by acquiring the potatoes you wish to grow. You can buy special varieties of potatoes you love or experiment with whatever you have in the house.
- Wait until the potatoes have eyes. You will notice bumps protruding outward from the potato tubers. If you have really old potatoes, you might find some vines or beginnings of potato leaves!
- Cut sprouted potatoes into several pieces. Every piece should have at least two “eyes.” When possible, allow them to dry for a day or so.
- Fill the bottom of the container with a few inches of soil. This serves as the bed for the cut potatoes.
- Place potato chunks eyes facing up, cut-side down on the soil. Space them out by the size of your hand, when possible.
- Add two to three inches of soil. Cover the “seed potatoes” with a layer of soil until all parts are covered and wait for the green growth to appear.
- After plants emerge from the soil, cover them up again. This allows more tubers to grow inside your potato container or grow bag.
- Repeat until you reach the top of the container. Once you reach the full height of the container, simply care for the potatoes as you normally would. Water and fertilize as needed.
Good Containers for Growing Potatoes
Plan your potato container garden according to the supplies you have on hand, or purchase something specific for your needs.
Besides 5-gallon buckets or grow bags of varying sizes, you can try growing potatoes in a barrel such as a half whiskey barrel, popularly sold at garden centers.
In summary, here are some popular containers for growing potatoes:
- 5-gallon buckets
- Fabric grow bags
- Barrels or half-barrels
- Large plastic planters
- Potato towers
- Burlap sacks
- HDPE potato bags
- Raised garden beds
Almost any kind of barrel, bucket, grow bag, or container helps to keep your potatoes contained. This makes it extra easy to harvest all of them at the same time without missing any.
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Kids’ Activity: How to Plant Sprouted Potatoes
Get the kids involved in this easy gardening trick! Teach them how to plant sprouted potatoes with supplies you already have at home.
- Give each child his or her own materials. Supply a cut-up potato with eyes, along with a planter, bucket, or container and soil.
- Instruct but allow a hands-on experience. Explain to the kids how to plant potatoes with eyes, but let them do it all by themselves.
- Check on progress and refill the soil as needed. After a week or so, the potato plants likely need more soil. Meet again or inform kids about this step ahead of time.
Generally, kids of all ages will probably enjoy learning how to grow potatoes from potatoes! This is sure to be a fun and memorable experience.
How Deep to Plant Potatoes
When growing potatoes in a pot or container, plant the seed potatoes about three inches deep.
Keep in mind you will continue to replace the soil on top of the potato plants as they grow. It may feel strange covering them up, but this allows them to grow more shoots that will produce even more potatoes!
Tips for Growing Potato Plants
In addition to these steps on how to plant potatoes in a container, you can also improve your yield and process with a few extra tips.
- Aim for full sun. When deciding where to plant potatoes, remember they will do best in full sun.
- Roll down the edges of the grow bags. If you’re growing potatoes in fabric pots like grow bags, I like to roll the edges down until I build up the soil again. This allows more sun to reach the soil and the potato plants.
- Consider the location based on what else you are growing. Choose potato companion plants to make the most of your growing spaces.
- Use landscaping plant tags to identify types of potatoes. I used yellow for white potatoes, blue for purple potatoes, and pink for red potatoes. I merely looped them right onto the handles of the grow bags.
- Even if they’re tiny, cook them up! Don’t be discouraged if you get small potatoes. Sometimes our potato plants work out better than others. Late plantings don’t always mature as big as we’d like. Still, we drizzle olive oil on those marble-sized potatoes and bake them on a sheet pan with some salt and pepper and they come out delicious!
The University of New Hampshire Extension also has some tips on growing potatoes in pots and containers if you are hungry for more information.
Potato Container Garden
You can grow a potato container garden with many garden grow bags or pots.
Our deck needs to be redone and so in the meantime, I am using the steps to the hot tub as a tiered staging area for my potato container garden.
FAQs on Growing Potatoes in Containers
Conclusion: Growing Potatoes from Eyes
Growing potatoes from potatoes is just about the easiest planting gets! In general, teaching kids how to plant potatoes from eyes is a great activity to try at home or in garden club, and pretty much fool-proof.
If you follow these easy instructions, you’ll be sure to have some yummy taters to enjoy this season.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have or share tips in the comments below. We always love hearing from you!