Farmers Market Fare

Published on May 28th, 2012 | by Patricia Larenas


Growing Potatoes in a Container

Eating fresh, tender, organically grown potatoes will spoil you, and there are many delicious varieties you can find at your farmer’s market and a few grocery stores. They come in a range of tempting colors: purple, bluish, rosy red and gold. If you’d like to try growing your own, here’s a really easy and fun way to grow your favorites in a container at home.

You don’t have to have special seed potatoes. If your potato sprouts, it will grow. It helps if it’s fresh and hasn’t been in storage for a long time, or sprayed with any sprout inhibitors. That’s why getting them from a local organic grower is best, if you can. But you can also order seed potatoes from Wood Prairie Farm or Seed Savers Exchange.

You Will Need:

A 12 inch pot (measurement across the opening of the pot)

Potting soil

Organic fertilizer

1 -3 Small fresh potatoes, sprouted

Plant potatoes in a container

Small potatoes ready to be covered with 2 inches of potting mix

Assembling Your Potato Container in Three Steps:

1. Fill the pot with potting soil one third full (soil based potting mix).

2. Mix in a small handful of organic fertilizer, such as Dr. Earth or EB Stone.

3. Place one to three small sprouted potatoes in the center and cover with about 2 inches more of the potting soil.

Potato sprouting in a container

When the potato sprouts get six inches high add more soil up to the leaves

When the plants are about 6 inches in height, add more soil up to the leaves.  Do this until the container is filled with soil up to the rim. Water the container and allow the plant to grow. Keep the pot damp but not soggy. Make the pot gets enough sun, but not so much that the plant wilts (I had my pot in shade part of the day).

Harvest the potatoes when flowers begin to open or the foliage turns yellow and begins to die back. Enjoy your fresh potatoes and save one or two to start your next container!

Potato growing in a container

A fully grown potted potato plant

Instructions from the American Horticultural Society book,  Plant Propagation, A. Toogood editor.

For more on growing potatoes in containers go here.

Photos: Patricia Larenas, Urban Artichoke

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About the Author

Patricia Larenas is a writer and gardener living in Silicon Valley doing her part to heal the planet, one garden at a time. She left her career in the tech sector to dig in the dirt full time and help others create and enjoy their edible landscapes. Read more at her web site:

4 Responses to Growing Potatoes in a Container

  1. I never knew potato plants look so ornamental, it can fit in right in my garden! The closest thing I’ve seen potatoes grow leaves are just tiny sprouts. Are potato leaves edible as well?

  2. No! potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant are members of the nightshade genus, and their leaves are ALL toxic to humans. You can see the similarities in the flowers of each of these. And in the tomatoes that are said to have “potato leaf”foliage, like the Brandywine.
    Funny how lots of our edible plants are very attractive if we take time to appreciate them- potato flowers are a beautiful purple, similar to the eggplant flower.
    I hope you have fun growing them!

  3. Does this work with sweet potatoes too?

  4. Sweet potatoes need more heat to grow properly. I haven’t tried growing sweet potatoes or yams, since I’m not sure if it’s warm enough where I live. According to the book “Edible Landscaping” by Rosalind Creasy, she recommends a rich light soil mix for growing sweet potatoes in containers, and slightly on the acid side.
    They are propagated from slips, which are the sprouts on the tuber. You are supposed to pull the sprouts off (not cut them) with their roots then plant in the container. You may also check for suppliers of the slips.
    But I imagine you could also plant a small sweet potato that has sprouted- let me know if you try it!

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