Want a fun, low on space way to grow potatoes? Grow them in a garbage can!
With either a new a garbage can (or a used one that is super-clean), drill several 1/2 drainage
holes in the bottom and on the sides close to the bottom.
In the bottom of your garbage can, place a layer of
shredded newspaper or old junk mail. This helps to keep
the soil that you add on top of this moist and also helps to
keep the soil from finding its way out of the drain holes to
make a mess. You then fill the can with about 6 inches of
good potting soil, and if you like, some fertilizer. I
personally would use the "square foot gardening" mix of
1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost and 1/3 asbestos-free
Take a few seed potatoes and cut them up, leaving several
eyes on each piece. Alternatively, you can use regular store
potatoes, but they may not grow as well. Plant the potato
pieces in the six inches of soil, leaving several inches between
each seed. You cover these seed potatoes with soil (about an
inch), and water them.
The potato plants will sprout. When the vines grow 4" high, you add compost, more soil, or
straw to the garbage can, covering all but 1" of the vine. You keep doing this until the garbage
can is completely full. It is very important that you do not let the soil get
dried out; at the same time, don’t let your potatoes sit in soggy water.
You then have the seed potatoes at the bottom and several plants that
have grown up to the height of the garbage can. If needed, you can
stake up the vines that grow out of the top of the can. The vines will
flower, and then potatoes will grow all
up the length of the vine.
You can gently dig right in whenever
you want a potato. When you dig in to
get one while the vine is alive, this is a
"new potato", sometimes called a “baby potato”. They are
extremely tasty when fresh from the plant. The "new potato"
will not store long, so eat them soon after picking them. When
your flowers start to fade, your stalks will start to turn yellow.
Your big potatoes are growing now.
You can get up to 40 lbs or more from one season’s growth
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