How to Grow Potatoes in a Bucket

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.

potatoes in dirt
potatoes in dirt

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.

more potatoes in dirt
more potatoes in dirt

You Will Need

  • a 5 gallon plastic bucket
  • compost or dirt
  • potato slips (the best kind for this use are the “early” potatoes, or even fingerlings)


  1. Start by drilling 3-4 holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage.
  2. Add in enough dirt to cover the bottom of the bucket by 1/2 inch.
  3. Cut your slips, leaving one potato eye per slip.
  4. Carefully lay 3-4 slips, eyes UP in the dirt. This is the best way to plant potatoes, by facing the eye UP.
  5. Completely cover the slips with another layer of dirt.
  6. Water well.

In a week or so, you will start to see some growth as the plants come up from the dirt.

  1. At this time, you will add another layer of slips, eyes up and cover the slips and green shoots with dirt.
  2. Water well again.
  3. Each time you do this, the shoots will “spread out” and start another layer of potatoes.
  4. 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?

potatoes vertical

6 thoughts on “How to Grow Potatoes in a Bucket”

  1. I used to grow potato right in my living room. But I had a smaller metal galvanized bucket. It’s greatest pleasure to it potatoes grown by myself.

  2. Thank you for the very well explained instructions on how to bucket grow a potato. This season I’ve decided to give this a try just for kicks. And, like I’m often heard exclaiming… Growing “nice ‘n clean and no caffeine!” Yeah, I’m a goofy plant guy. Cheers! – daFigz™

  3. I’ve never grown potatoes before although I did some container gardening last year with watermelons, green peppers, acorn squash, and tomatoes.

    I just came from another site that said to NOT put the newly-planted eyes/slips in the sun because sunlight will turn the potatoes green, creating a poison called “solanine” (?).

    Now I’m completely confused.

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