Growing potatoes in containers and why you should do it.

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potato5I have never met a potato I did not like.  Seriously.  There was period during the 80s that I refer to as my potato years.  I shunned meats of any kind and pretty much subsisted for weeks at a time on baked potatoes, asiago cheese, and apples.  That, plus my morning latte was it.  I would go weeks and weeks on a steady diet of potatoes and little else.

Somewhere along the line,  I gave up such foolishness and started eating a bit more normally.  Well, maybe not normally but certainly with a lot more in the way of variety and protein foods.

I wrote about my teensy weensy garden in Getting Prepared Week 6: Planning the food garden.  Back then,  I promised a progress report but to tell the truth, there just isn’t any progress to report yet.  My seedlings are scrawny and barely alive. Too cold and not enough light would be my guess.   I am going to start anew when the weather dries out a bit and yes, I am going to have to purchase some starts.

But in the meantime, I bought a couple of small seed potatoes (40 cents worth to be exact – the clerk thought I was nuts, only two?) and set my sights on growing a few taters in a tub.

potato (1)potato

Here is the plan, although I will be using an old Rubbermaid tub (see above) and not a compost bag or potato growing bag.


Is it going to work?  Sure hope so.  The seed potato variety is  called “Cal White” and according to our local garden center, they are of the early season type.  Here in the Pacific NW, a short season variety is crucial if we expect a harvest of anything before October.

So why grow some taters in a tub?  Let me count the ways!

1.  Space or lack thereof.  If blessed or cursed (depending on your perspective) with a small yard, you can isolate some potatoes in a container in an out of the way space or on a porch or deck and not worry about the tubers taking over your landscaping.

2.  Potatoes in the garden can suffer from blight which is a fungus that will dash your green thumb victory in a heartbeat.  By growing your spuds in a tub, you can use fresh soil and compost each year, thus reducing the likelihood that the blight will prosper and carry over to next year’s crop.

3.  Simplicity.  No seedlings to deal with.  No monitoring dainty little baby plants as they grow to adulthood.  The potato is a sturdy, macho veggie that does not require tenderness.

4.  Potatoes are delicious.  They can serve as the base for all kinds of good things when composing a one dish meal.  I still love grated asiago or feta cheese on my potato plus, with the addition of some fresh chopped broccoli, I have the ultimate comfort food.

5.  They store well.  Given some space, you could grow lots of potatoes in pots and bags tucked in throughout the landscape.  After harvesting, store your bounty in a cool place for use over the entire winter months.

6.  Survival food:  they can bake up in a fire pit without a problem.  Top with some canned beans and there you go.  Or shall I say there I go talking about comfort food again.  Yummy.

7.  Spuds are a nutrition powerhouse.  One medium, skin-on potato contains only 110 calories and is full of vitamins and minerals essential for good health.   They are an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C, and also a source of dietary fiber and iron.  There’s more.  Potatoes contain no saturated, trans fat or cholesterol and very little sodium.

Need move convincing?  Check out this free nutrition handbook from the United States Potato Board.

At the moment, my two little seed potatoes are sitting on the window sill, getting themselves ready to sprout.  They will be headed for the tub this weekend.  Let the potato party begin!

Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!



Growing potatoes in containers and why you should do it. — 9 Comments

  1. ICK! You normally give such GREAT advice! Anything microwaved makes your white blood cells respond as if you were coming down with the flu! Microwaving food literally destroys the nutritional benefits! Please research! Remember, although the FDA says microwaving is not harmful to the food, this is the same folks that said DDT (and currently RoundUp) was/(is) fine for use also!

    • The effect of microwaves on food is not something I have researched. I will check it out although my guess is that the truth will be difficult to ascertain given that the corporate and government PR machines want us to believe that whatever they say is true and in our best interest. I am equally concerned about burned food on non-stick pans. That has to be toxic and bad. Very bad.

  2. Wow,I still haven’t posted on your last 2 posts.
    I will be buying several potatoes from the organic section
    and placing them in a bag to start sprouting through
    April, then first of May I will cut them accordingly, let them
    skin over for a day or two, them plant them. Last year
    was my first attempt. I did ok, not the greatest harvest, but we had a
    few meals worth. This year I plan on growing both
    potatoes, and sweet potatoes. I also learned if you plant
    them traditionally in the ground, they need to be
    hilled as the stalks grow taller, that’s where the
    potatoes grow. if I had had more money to get more
    dirt I wouldn’t been able to harvest quite a bit
    more. This year with advise from a Canadian friend
    who’s grandfather grew them, I should increase
    my yield. My Siberian garlic is coming up nicely, I should
    have a few dozen to harvest and half of that to plant.
    microwaving, nonstick pans, soda, Carmel Color, are all
    nasty things. I could go on, but your getting prepared posts
    here isn’t about
    the nasty’s, it’s about getting prepared, frugally. again,
    thank you for taking the time to share with others.

  3. I learned your web-site from George Ure and enjoy it very much. Regarding growing potatoes, another idea is to grow them in a barrel (or even a series of tires) and add soil as the potato plant grows. Yes the spuds grow near the top of the soil and by adding soil as the plant grows, one is adding to the yield. I’ve been saving potato seeds from bought organic potatoes that have started to grow roots and will be planting them fairly soon. I too live in the PNW and know the short growing season. In our climate potatoes take 3 months or more to grow. So I’m looking forward to my own potatoes come July on.

      • Bummer… I have to pull the blossom off as soon as the squash can be seen – or about 1 inch long – or the ends rot here. I’ve got one yellow leaved plant and all the rest are green – weird. A friend lost 3 of his dozen to rot, but so far, while stunted, mine are ok except for that one yellow one.

        We have pulled out a call for extra zucchini’s – it’s the every other year for making zucchini carrot relish! And it takes a LOT of zukes! lol!

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