Growing Potatoes in Buckets

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Intro: Growing Potatoes in Buckets

New, fresh potatoes is a treat. Why not grow them yourself? You don't need a whole field, just a couple of buckets.

You'll need:

2 black buckets (potatoes dislike sunlight!)

a sharp knife

a speedmarker

something to make holes in the bottom of the buckets (I used a soldering iron)

soil

potatoes

Step 1: Preparing the Buckets

First you'll make some holes in the bottom of both buckets in order to drain the soil. It's important because potatoes can rot if there are too much water around them. Once done set one of the buckets aside. You don't need to do anything more with that bucket. This one will be the outer bucket.

Step 2: The Inner Bucket

I divided the bucket rim in 3 parts, 120° each. Then I draw a line vertical down the bucket (a). Then I draw 2 lines parallel to the first line 5 cm (2 inch) on each side of these (b). Then I meassured 5 cm (2 inch) from the top and the bottom and made 2 lines between the b-lines. On the picture I call them c-lines. Now cut out the rectangle made from the b- and c-lines. Finally you'll have a bucket with 3 windows like the one on the third picture.

Step 3: Planting Potatoes

Before I made the buckets I started sprouting the potatoes. First I place the inner bucket in the outer bucket. Then I fill the buckets half with soil. Now I place one potato right in front of each window half the way from the middle to the side of the bucket. Then I fill the buckets with soil, taking good care of the fragile sprouts. Finally I give the potatoes a good amount of water. The soil will pack around the potatoes, so it can be necessary to add more soil. Remember, potatoes must not get any kind of light, they'll turn green and become poisonous (produce solanine). Place the buckets in a light spot, but avoid direct sun. Give the potatoes enough water but don't let them soak.

Step 4: Harvesting

When the potato plant begin to bloom the first harvest is ready. Remove the inner bucket from the outer bucket and take the amount of potatoes you want. Spare the soil that falls out of the bucket. When finished, place the inner bucket in the outer bucket and place the soil back on top of the surface where you took the potatoes. The soil will repack around the rest of the potatoes. It can be necessary to add more soil, avoiding sunlight to the potatoes.

You can continue harvesting potatoes from the same plants until late autumn/early winter.

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59 Discussions

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Trina RR

1 year ago

What is the recommended time to wait for first harvest? 6-8 weeks??

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PothusetTrina RR

Reply 1 year ago

I wait until the potato plants blossom. You can try looking after 6 weeks.

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AllanE13

1 year ago

Remember you have to use food grade Buckets https://ertmania.dk/blog/207-dyrkning-af-kartofler-i-spande

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PothusetAllanE13

Reply 1 year ago

Yes, if they are available in your country. But not all countries in the world have these buckets. And honestly I don't think it is that important.

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David Catriel

2 years ago

Very cool instructable, and would like to try it out myself. Can you elaborate some more on the sprouting part, though? You don't say much about it. Thx.

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CarolynW2David Catriel

Reply 2 years ago

All you have to do is let the potatoes sit in the dark, they will sprout all by themselves... I usually just save some from the last potatoes in the store bought bag. When you go to plant, just slice the potatoes with a couple of sprouts/eyes on each piece. By the way, you can also cover over the soil with straw or newspaper as the soil compacts to keep the light away.

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PothusetDavid Catriel

Reply 2 years ago

Well, in the late winter the potatoes I use to consume start sprouting. I take the potatoes with the most vigorous sprouts and place them in old egg punnets and close the lids. In the dark the sprouts will develop, growing stronger until they are ready to plant.

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CarolynW2David Catriel

Reply 2 years ago

All you have to do is let the potatoes sit in the dark, they will sprout all by themselves... I usually just save some from the last potatoes in the store bought bag. When you go to plant, just slice the potatoes with a couple of sprouts/eyes on each piece. By the way, you can also cover over the soil with straw or newspaper as the soil compacts to keep the light away.

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PothusetDarlaJ2

Reply 2 years ago

I don't know. I haven't even tasted sweet potatoes :)

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DarlaJ2Pothuset

Reply 2 years ago

Thank you, RyanA10 and Pothuset, you should give them a taste. Very good. ;)

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Happymacer

2 years ago

Woohoo, we did it! In Aus it's probably too late for growing potatoes but what the heck. How deep should we plant the potato? Thanks for the idea!

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MichaelAtOzHappymacer

Reply 2 years ago

No, not an ideal time in Oz, if you're in a frost area keep them indoors and you may get a crop.

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Amyjustine

2 years ago

I've planted potatoes in containers before. But this is a great idea as it allows you to be able to harvest from time to time. Through the growing season and not have to harvest all at once in the fall. Will be trying this for sure this year. Tks for the 'ible.

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JohnT49

2 years ago

Tak ... for a well-structured and particularly clear set of instructions. And, in particular, thanks for the warning on solanine (I once mistakenly cut out the green bits, thinking the remainder of the potato would be fit to eat and ... nearly died).

I live in central London and had almost given up on trying to grow potatoes. A big problem for me is the large number of foxes who dig up my plants and bury disposable diapers in their place. Yuck!

Growing potatoes in containers like this might well foil those cunning foxes. I'm going to try this now!

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PothusetJohnT49

Reply 2 years ago

May I suggest that you stretch a kind of metal net (chicken tread) over the buckets when you have planted the potatoes. The potato plant will find the nearest hole and grow up, but the foxes will have problems digging in the soil.

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onesimpleidea

2 years ago

Nice. Can you please explain in more detail (maybe in sequence) how you harvest, and what role the inner bucket "windows" play in the process? I'm not sure what you remove, how you remove it, what you leave alone, why, whether you harvest all and replant, or harvest some, etc? Do you replant into a partially-harvested pot to keep the whole process going? Thanks.