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Potato Project: Growing Potatoes in a Container

by Fern on March 12, 2010

in Fruits & Vegetables,How To

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I have more Smart Pots than just the ones I’ve set aside for the comparison study (and sent to Debra), so I’ve been looking for different things I could try. One of the things they are supposedly good for is growing potatoes. With that in mind, I bought a ‘French Fingerling’ potato seedling at the nursery, because that was the only way to get just one potato plant. All the seed potatoes were sold in bags of ten.

However, according to the Smart Pot website, you can grow 3 potato plants in a 10 gallon Smart Pot, so I need two more seedlings. Whoops. Word on the street is that Adriana has an extra seed potato, so maybe I can arrange a swap of some sort.

Here is what Smart Pot says to do to grow potatoes in one of their pots:

  1. Cut seed potatoes into chunks having at least 2 eyes each. Each piece should be about 1.5-2 inches long. Allow the pieces to dry and callous over, about 2 days. Whole seed potatoes can be planted if they are small.
  2. Use rich, loamy soil that is slightly acidic (the goal is a pH of 6.0).
  3. Plant the seed potatoes when the soil has reached a minimum of 45 degrees F.
  4. Fill the Smart Pot container about 1/3 full with a 50/50 mixture of garden soil and compost.
  5. Plant one seed potato for each 3 gallons of Smart Pot container. For the #15 container, for example, plant 5 seed potatoes. For the #10 container, plant 3 or 4 seed potatoes. Place the seed potatoes evenly in the container.
  6. Water the soil thoroughly. It should be moist but not soggy.
  7. Soon, you will see little stems pop through the soil. Mound up more soil/compost mix, but do not to cover the leaves. The leaves need sun and air exposure.
  8. As the potatoes continue growing, continue adding soil/compost mix until you reach the top of the Smart Pot container.
  9. As summer ends and autumn nears, the potato leaves and stems will begin to turn yellow. Timing will vary somewhat depending on the potato variety and your temperature zone.
  10. When the foliage has died back and the weather is cooler, stop all watering about 2 weeks prior to harvest. The leaves and stems will turn almost completely yellow. You are ready to harvest.

If you’re using something other than a Smart Pot, I’m sure you could still follow these instructions. I’ve heard of people using a plastic garbage bag with holes punches in the bottom. The benefit of the Smart Pot is supposed to be that the fabric sides of the pot are permeable and allows the soil to stay aerated.

Check back in a few hours. I’m going to plant my potato seedling according to these instructions this morning and I’ll post pictures when I’m done.

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