Growing potatoes in a bucket is a good option if no ground is available for planting. In fact, many would say growing potatoes in a bucket is easier than growing them in the ground. Below are detailed, step-by-step directions for successfully growing potatoes in a bucket.

Things You Will Need

  • A plastic garbage can, at least 20 gallons
  • A drill with a 7/8 inch drill bit
  • Soil or soiless mix (peat moss, wood chips, compost, perlite)
  • Some potatoes

Step 1

Drill some holes in the garbage can. The holes should be on the sides, approximately one-half inch from the bottom. Be sure you have enough room between the holes and from the bottom to the holes that you do not risk the garbage can cracking or collapsing due to lack of structure on the bottom. Use a 7/8 inch drill bit to drill holes at least six inches apart.

Step 2

Cut the potatoes if they are big. You can use any potatoes as long as they are not rotten or moldy. If you cut the potatoes, be sure to keep at least 3 eyes on each piece. Leave the potatoes in a well-ventilated area while you fill the buckets (see below). This will allow the potatoes time to callous a little so they are less susceptible to disease once they are planted.

Step 3

Fill the garbage can with about four to six inches of soil or soiless mix. You can use garden soil, potting soil, pure compost, or a mix of peat moss, wood chips, compost, and perlite. Perlite is a white chalky, crumbly substance often found at garden centers. Perlite is used to keep soil from becoming compacted, especially in containers.

Step 4

Move the trash can to its permanent location, if you haven't done so already. Water coming out of the drainage holes could cause a mess, so it's a good idea to put something underneath the bucket to collect excess water. You can carefully balance the bucket on its lid or use a plastic lid from a large tote box. Be sure to place the container in a sunny location, ideally so the potato plants get at least six hours of sunlight per day.

Be sure your potting medium (garden soil, potting soil, compost, etc) is sufficiently moist for planting before putting potatoes in. The soil should be moist like a wet sponge, but not sopping wet.

Step 5

Now, plant your potatoes. For a twenty gallon container, two to three pieces of potato will do. Place the potatoes or potato pieces in the potting medium with their eyes facing up. Cover lightly with two inches of potting medium at most.

Step 6

Keep your potting medium moist throughout the growing season, but avoid over watering. When your potato plants are four to six inches tall, put more potting medium over them to bury them. Continue burying your potato plants when they are about four to six inches tall. When the container is full and the plant growing at the top turns brown around September, then you may harvest your potatoes.

Step 7

Harvest your potatoes by first laying out a large tarp or blanket or plastic sheet next to the potato bucket. Then dump the bucket out onto the sheet or blanket, dirt and all. Pick out the potatoes from the potting medium. You may be surprised at the amount of potatoes you harvest! Wash the potatoes once they are all collected. Let them air dry in a place with plenty of ventilation for up to two days. Be sure the potatoes themselves never are in direct sunlight. If any potatoes turn green, do not eat them- they have turned poisonous due to exposure to sunlight. To avoid this, you can place your potatoes in paper bags in a single layer per paper bag.

Step 8

Once the potatoes are sufficiently dry, be sure to thoroughly check them. Any potatoes that may have become damaged in the drying process, if their skin got nicked, for example, cannot be stored. Eat those right away. Any potatoes that show signs of disease, such as dark spots on the skin, should be thrown out. Growing potatoes in a bucket is quite an easy process once the process is understood. Most gardeners, even a novice, can successfully grow potatoes in a bucket.

Tips & Warnings