If you grow tomato plants in pots, you already know that you don’t need an actual garden plot to have a successful harvest of fresh produce. Herbs and greens can also be grown without much effort.
But have you tried potatoes or sweet potatoes?
Growing potatoes in pots is actually better in many ways than growing them in your garden. They can take up some serious garden space, especially tough for gardeners that have a relatively small space to grow their veggies. Putting potatoes in pots makes them concentrate their growing efforts on the limited space they’re given, and I’ve found that they produce a sizable harvest despite their restrictions.
You can buy seed potatoes from gardening companies online but you can also go to the store and simply buy a bag of organic potatoes. Have some of them for dinner, and leave the rest in a corner without sunshine to sprout right in the bag. Because they’re organic, they haven’t been sprayed with a sprout-inhibitor, and you’ll see that they’ll start to grow in no time. (You can also place each potato in a glass of water to aid in sprouting.) Once the potatoes sprout, cut each into 2 or 3 pieces, each piece with a bud. Get a large pot you want to grow them in (plastic is lighter and easier), making sure it has holes in the bottom for drainage, and fill it with only 3 inches of soil. Gently press the potato buds into this soil about 4 inches apart and water them. Every week as they grow, keep adding soil to the pot all the way up the stems to just under the top leaves. When you’ve filled the pot with soil, let the potatoes continue growing…they’re now on their own. They will bloom, and then the stems will start to wither and die. When the stems have died off (if you can wait that long!) simply tilt the pot over and you’ll pour out your potato harvest! Lots of fun for the kids to find this “buried treasure.”
My wife loves sweet potato vines to decorate flower pots. So instead of buying decorative sweet potato vines that don’t produce edible fruit, I buy edible sweet potato plants from a reliable garden catalog. I simply stick them in the potting soil next to our favorite flowers and let them grow all season long. The decorative leaves will cascade down the sides of the flower pots, but inside, under the soil surface, they’ll be secretly making delicious sweet potatoes!
When the growing season is over, gently dig away the potting soil in the pot (I use my hands to prevent damaging the sweet potatoes) and admire your harvest!
Potatoes and sweet potatoes need to be store in a cool place away from sunlight (and away from onions.) A cool garage works great.