Growing Potatoes in a Bucket (or Gardening Container for you Fancy Folks)

Growing Potatoes the Earl Penney Way 

(adapted by his daughter - that's me!)

Preparing the containers

I actually took a couple of plain buckets from Dad's shed.  There were a good size (say about 5 gallons - 18-20 litres).  The issue was - no holes for drainage.

Cue the drill!!!!  Places, places everyone!  EMT on alert... 9-1-please don't make me press the last number...

Plain Bucket

Warning - There may be some damage. No not the bucket - ME!!

Five (5) good holes for drainage
In retrospect, I probably should have drilled larger holes.   But we'll see how it develops over the growing season.

No injuries reported....

Now for planting

Cut seed potatoes into chunks having at least 2 eyes each. Each piece should be about 1.5-2 inches long. Allow the pieces to dry, about 2 days. Whole seed potatoes can be planted if they are small.

Have your bucket?  If not, get it out!
I know it's not the one from above... Let's pretend it's yellow?
No need to use good quality soil.  I used some black earth with a bit of peat and compost. 3:1:1 ratio maybe - I was not exact. Fill container to about 1/4 full.

Plant the seed potatoes.

Top the potatoes (just) with some more soil.
Look closely and there is a slight peek out of the potato. That's how thin  I top the soil.

Water the soil thoroughly. It should be moist but not soggy.

All planted and raring to Grow (get it? Grow? - I am hilarious!)

Now - I ask that you come back periodically as I will update this post with pictures of the potato crop progress - Promise?

Here are the rest of the steps anyway...

When you start to see leaves and sprouts come, mound some soil around it. Don't cover the leaves as they need to be exposed to the sun and air.

As the potatoes continue growing, keep adding soil mix until you reach the top of the container.

Keep watching in September/October (depending on maturity date of potato and when you planted), the potato leaves and stems will begin to turn yellow. Timing will vary somewhat depending on the potato variety. Typical grow length is 75-90-100 days.

When the leaves and stems have died back and the weather is cooler, stop all watering. The leaves and stems will turn almost completely yellow within a week or two. You are ready to harvest.
Cook and enjoy!
Here is the first crop of 2013 potatoes (picked July 21st)
Some of last years harvest  - About one bucket full.

Post Script - Here is a picture of my Dad's last potato garden - He was very proud of it.

Potatoes to the left - fish drying flake to the right
To explain the setup:

  • He found rectangular containers from a grocery store or fish plant
  • Built a ladder (or reused one) to sit the containers on (or in)
  • Drilled holes in the bottom
  • Filled with soil
  • Planted seed potatoes and let it grow
To learn a little about why my Dad is the biggest influence in my gardening life - here's a snippet.


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