Friday, February 5, 2010

Potato Gardening for the Space Challenged!

I have a fairly small garden (due to a city sized lot) so I am somewhat limited on planting any kind of space invading vegetable. While a potato plant itself doesn't take up much space, enough potato plants to get a good crop would take up quite a bit! I have always wanted to grow potatoes, but have never had the room to do it, or so I thought, until I came across a great idea in John Seymour's book 'The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live it' (great book, by the way). He instructed the reader on how to grow potatoes in a bin (pot or barrel) on your patio!

This is what he said: 'Growing potatoes in bins is particularly useful if your space if limited - even a patio will do. Take an old garbage can, and fill about a sixth of it with soil. Plant one or more potato sets. When the plants have grown, but before they flower, put another layer of soil on. Continue building up layers of soil as the plants appear, until they reach about 4 ft. When the potatoes are ready for harvesting, simply empty out the bin and you'll find you have a surpisingly heavy crop.'

If you suffer from lack of space, as I do, join me in trying this out!!! I am on the scout for a neat looking barrel, but if all else fails, I am going to grow them in a couple huge pulp pots (nested one on top of  the other, with the bottom of the top pot cut out so it can nest down on the base pot).

I would love to hear more ideas from you gardeners out there on what you do with your space!



  1. We did ours last year in a trench and heaped it over with straw (as described in "Gardening in Idaho" by John Cretti) which is a similar method. We are going to modify it this year by making a "barrel" out of wire fencing and metal fenceposts, and cover over the plants with straw. The potatoes are amazingly clean at harvest time!

  2. I used one of my tomato frames made of concrete reinforcement wire and "clean" straw. The spacing of the wire is large enough to put your hand thru and harvest some of the earlier potatoes.

  3. I've got lots of empty feed bags and am going to try using those. I think if I roll down the sides, leave the bottom closed, poke some drainage holes and put in some rocks for drainage, they should work. As soil needs to be added, the sides can be rolled up. The big question will be how well they stand up to the summer sun!

  4. Love the input! Thank you for your ideas! Let us know how the 'bag method' works Chloe! I think I might go with the straw method for ease of harvest!