Saturday, June 5, 2021

Planting potatoes ... sort of

We won't have a garden this year, but there are a couple of things I brought with me from our last place that I wanted to propagate. One is garlic (which I planted in January). The other is potatoes.

I brought a few potatoes from our old garden with the intent of planting them here in our new place. The difficulty, of course, is we don't yet have a place to plant them.

But nature doesn't wait. Look at these things! Are they weird freaky monsters or what? They need planting!

Since I'm not planting to harvest, but merely to propagate, I decided just to plop some taters in 10-gallon pots of dirt and hope for the best. This was in mid-May.

I had a few new bags of potting soil as well as a bunch of half-empty bags, and decided to use them to fill as many 10-gallon pots as I could.

Following the advice of a YouTube video, I planted the potatoes in two levels: three at the bottom...

...and three more about half-way up.

It's worth noting the gardener in the video said potatoes should be planted differently depending on whether they're determinate or indeterminate varieties. I have absolutely no idea what kind these potatoes are, so I'm just taking my chances.

The amount of potting soil I had on hand filled only four pots, so all I got planted was 24 sad little potatoes. Not enough to eat, but hopefully enough to harvest, hold over the winter, and plant next year.

Rather to my surprise – I don't know why it surprised me, but it did – they're growing like gangbusters. Potatoes are famous for taking ages to poke green leaves above the surface, but within two weeks green leaves were emerging.

So I gathered some old straw from outside the barn...

...and heaped it on each pot.

I also laid a small chuck of leftover field fence over them. The gardener in the video said potatoes actually like a bit of structural support.

As of a couple days ago, greenery is pushing up through the straw.

As I said, I'm only looking to propagate the potatoes to provide enough to plant next spring, when we'll have a proper garden. However this will be an interesting little experiment – just how many potatoes will each 10-gallon pot produce? Maybe it will be worth planting in pots in the future. We'll see.


  1. Fun experiment! Did you do anything to the buckets for drainage?

    1. They're actual planting pots, so they have build-in drainage holes.

      - Patrice

    2. Perfect! 👍

  2. I put about three inches of soil and then put in half a dozen potatoes. Cover with three inches soil. Every time leaves reach about three inches high, cover with soil. When pot of potatoes reaches top with leaves, stop adding soil. When potato leaves die, you can empty pot or dig out potatoes. The potatoes grow at different levels as the leaves are continually covered.

  3. We only plant potatoes in 5 gallon buckets. There are only two of us, and we get all that we need with 7 buckets worth. Be interested in how you do with the 10 gallon! Have a great weekend!

  4. I have for the first time planted my potatoes in cages with the layer system, your know, straw, soil, straw soil and so on. On each layer of soil I put in 3-4 little starts or cut up potatoes towards the outer edge of the cage. Green is really showing now, I hope I get sizable potatoes this year. The good thing, I can simply tip the cage over a tarp and dismantle to get the potatoes, then I would toss the mess to the compost pile. Usually when I plant in raised beds or in the ground there is always a few bits I miss and of course they show up the next spring. So much for rotation.

  5. We always planted the eyes from our largest potatoes.

  6. How interesting! I will be excited to see how it turns out!