I started growing potatoes mostly for fun. It’s not the same fun as waiting for lily or narcissus. It’s the excitement of experimenting.
When I searched for new things for my balcony garden, I found a YouTube video showing how to grow potatoes in containers. I’ve heard about growing potatoes in rice sacks before, but containers? It was the first. So, to satisfy my curiosity, I set out to make my own potatoes in both pots and big bags.
For both options, you can use with any potatoes you buy from a supermarket. Leave a few to sprout and then you can start.
Option 1: Carrier bags
This one is straightforward. I use recycled Tesco shopping bags as they are sturdy and not too big so that they won’t take up all the space on my balcony. I also have a carton, but it wasn’t ideal as the water turned it mushy. My dad had a good laugh when I told him that I was growing potatoes in a cardboard box. Well, I just got a lot to learn still.
You can always use plastic containers but it’s expensive to buy a few as big as the carrier bags, and they would be stuck growing potatoes for at least three months.
Once you get a container of your choice, fill it with soil and put the potatoes with the shoots point upwards about 1o cm below the surface.
Now, it’s all about watering and waiting. Potatoes don’t need much care, really. They can grow out tall and branchy, which could prevent the sunlight reaching other small plants near it. So pick your place well if you have a lot of plants in a small area.
If you see flowers appearing, cut them off to spare the energy for the tube to grow bigger, meaning having bigger potatoes. The harvest time depends on the type and the time you start. I harvested mine after three months, as I was excited to see the results and felt impatient with all the sprawling branches.
Option 2: Containers
I had a lot of fun with this experiment. You will need two plastic containers and a bit a measuring and cutting. Here’s a short YouTube video that shows you an easy-harvest potato planter:
The principle of this method is to go with the flow. You fill the container with more soil when the plants grow bigger, and you harvest as soon as some new potatoes appear through the hole. If you have big enough pots and decent compost, you can keep harvesting potatoes for a while.
I got all my potatoes out at once as the containers I used were rather small. They are the best potatoes I had, though. (And yes, I am biased!)
So there you go. Have fun growing potatoes!