My family loves potatoes, there’s no way around it. We often get potatoes from our local farmer, but they aren’t organic. I know, I know…they are usually on the dirty dozen list each year. But, it’s a cheaper way to fill my hungry teens.
The biggest issue with growing our own has been space. Potatoes take a lot of space in the garden and you need to “hill” them, or pile on dirt as they start growing to get the best harvest.
Not many of us have that kind of space, so when our friends told us of the success they have had with potatoes in buckets, we knew we had to do it too.
We learned that growing potatoes in a bucket was a great way to get a good harvest with little space.
How to grow potatoes in a bucket
- a 5 gallon bucket (you can find them at your local home improvement store, or online)
- compost or dirt
- potato slips-the best kind for this use are the “early” potatoes or even fingerlings.
- To start growing them, start by drilling 3-4 holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage.
- Add in enough dirt to cover the bottom of the bucket by 1/2 inch.
- Cut your slips, leaving one potato eye per slip.
- Carefully lay 3-4 slips, eyes UP in the dirt. This is the best way to plant potatoes, by facing the eye UP.
- Completely cover the slips with another layer of dirt.
- Water well.
In a week or so, you will start to see some growth as the plants come up from the dirt.
- At this time, you will add another layer of slips, eyes up and cover the slips and green shoots with dirt.
- Water well again.
- Each time you do this, the shoots will “spread out” and start another layer of potatoes.
- Repeat this process until you reach the top of the bucket.
You will want to make sure the buckets are kept in a sunny area.
As the potatoes grow, you will see lots of green shoots coming up from the bucket. Once the green plants start to turn yellow and die, the potatoes will be ready. Simply turn the bucket over and dump the contents out. There won’t be a lot of dirt left, and your potato bucket harvest will be about 10-15 pounds of yummy potatoes from each bucket!
To store, you will need to allow the potatoes to “ripen”.
We do this by laying them out on an old bed sheet, in a single layer, out of direct sunlight and preferably in a dark spot for 48 hours. You want the skins to be completely dry to avoid possibility of mold or rotting. Then, we carefully place them in an open container in our root cellar for longer storage. You can also can or dehydrate them for ease of storage, too!
Have you ever tried growing potatoes in a bucket? What’s your “tried and true” method for getting the best harvest?
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.