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3 Reasons Why Potato Planters are Helpful

Planting potatoes can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. Potato planters can help make the process of growing potatoes easier. What are potato planters, and how do they work to make your potato crop successful?

Potato planters are containers that allow potato plants to grow vertically, meaning that they require less room to grow. You can produce a high yield of potatoes without a lot of space while also controlling what soil you use to grow them. Potato planters make life easier for the gardener.

This article will answer and discuss the following “budding” questions:

  • What are potato planters?
  • What are the benefits of potato planters?
  • What materials are they made from?
  • How effective are potato planters?
  • How to plant potatoes in planters
Potatoes being pulled from the soil
Photo by Sharon Kingston

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What are Potato Planters?

Potato planters are bins, bags, or other types of containers that allow potatoes to grow vertically. They are useful since they allow you to grow potatoes without having to dedicate your entire garden to them. They are also useful for people who want to grow potatoes but who do not have a garden to grow them in.

They range in size, depending on how many potatoes you want to grow.

For example, if you’re going to plant four to six potatoes, you’ll need a 10-gallon (38 L ) container that is at least 16 inches (41 cms) high for planting. If you want to plant more potatoes, you’ll require a larger and taller bin.

What are the Benefits of Potato Planters?

Now that you know what potato planters are, you might be asking yourself, “Why should I buy these when I can just plant potatoes in my backyard garden?”

Potato planters save space in your garden for other plants, frees up your time for other things, as it saves on your labor, and it protects your potatoes from pests. Let’s take a look at these benefits in more detail.

Potato Planters Give You More Space in Your Garden

When you grow potatoes in the ground, they require a lot of space. Typically, they need at least 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cms) between each potato plant and 3 feet (1 m) between rows. If you don’t have a massive home garden, you’d usually be faced with the tough decision of whether you want to use most of your space to grow potatoes or other types of crops.

However, with a potato planter, you no longer have to plant your potatoes in your garden, saving space for all of your other fruits and veggies.

Planters Make Growing Potatoes Less Labor Intensive

Growing potatoes in a garden requires a lot of digging to get the soil ready for planting. Then, once the potatoes are ready for harvest, you have to dig them out of the ground, which is pretty labor intensive. With a potato planter, all you need to do is dump out the soil to reveal your delicious potatoes.

Planters Protect Your Potatoes from Pests

Many annoying pests can easily harm your potatoes when you plant them directly in your garden soil. Rodents are some of the main culprits since they can create tunnels to your tubers, permitting them to eat them underground. You may also experience trouble with insects and worms, such as grubs and wireworms, when you plant your potatoes in the garden.

However, potato planters are more protected from these pests since the planter acts as a shield, guarding your potatoes against these harmful invaders. While they may still get in, it’s less likely.

What Materials are Potato Planters Made Out of?

Potato planters are made from several materials. The most common ones include:

  • Wood or pallets. To make a wooden planter, you’ll need four corner posts and four boards to create each side of the box. Pallets are easier to make into planters since you can easily convert their boards into a box.
  • Plastic bins or bags. Many plastic containers will do the trick, including 5-gallon (19 L) or 10-gallon (38 L) bucket or storage tub. However, you’ll need to drill drainage holes at the bottom of these containers, so the tubers don’t get too moist. Amazon and other online sellers also sell specially designed grow bags which are ideal for growing potatoes.
  • Chicken wire or nylon snow fencing for temporary use. If you want a potato planter that can be quickly taken down when it’s not in use, a planter made of fencing material is a great option. Use some stakes to create the shape of the planter, then wrap the fence around it. When you’re done, undo the fencing and store your materials for next season.
Photo of a potato plant growing in a grow bag
Photo by Graham Corney

Do Potato Planters Work?

While there has been some controversy online regarding the effectiveness of potato planters, most people agree that they do work if you use them correctly. They typically produce fewer potatoes than if you planted potatoes in the ground, but they require less space, making them ideal for growing potatoes at home.

How do Potato Planters Work?

Potato planters work by allowing your potatoes to grow vertically, resulting in a high potato yield without you having to dedicate your entire garden space.

To get these results, you must regularly cover your growing potato plants with soil, as this will force them to grow upwards in search of sunlight. As the potato plants grow taller, they produce tubers along their buried stems, meaning more potatoes for you!

Remember, for this process to work, you must leave some of the potato plant’s top leaves exposed, so it can continue to conduct photosynthesis.

How do You Fill Potato Planters?

While it might seem to be an intuitive concept, many people are confused about how to fill potato planters.

Acquire Potting Soil and Fertilizer

You’ll need high-quality potting soil to fill your potato planter, which should be fast draining to ensure that it doesn’t retain too much moisture. If you’re making it at home, a mix consisting of 1/3 perlite or vermiculite, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 coconut coir or peat moss should do the trick.

Once you’ve got your soil, mix it with a slow-release fertilizer, which will slowly but surely provide your potatoes with nutrients as they grow. You may also want to invest in a liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion that you can add to the potato plants every couple of weeks to encourage their growth.

Get the Potatoes Ready for Planting

To start, you’ll need to purchase seed potatoes that are specifically meant for planting. Once you’ve got your seed potatoes, select some with at least two eye buds (the growth areas where new shoots will appear). 

Next, place your potatoes in an open container, such as an egg carton, and make sure the eyes of the potato are facing upwards. Keep the potatoes in a cool place, around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) for at least two to four weeks, or until the potatoes sprout. Once this happens, they are ready for planting!

Fill the Container with Soil and Potatoes

Fill your planter with 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cms) of potting soil with some mixed-in fertilizer. Then, put your potatoes into the soil with their eye buds facing upwards. You’ll want to make sure each seed potato is approximately 6 inches (15 cms) apart so they have room to grow.

Once your potatoes are in position, cover them with 1 to 4 inches (3 to 10 cms) of potting soil. If you live in a cool climate, you’ll need less soil on top than if you live in a warmer climate.

Add More Soil to “Hill” the Potatoes

Once your potato plants grow to about 6 inches (15 cms) tall, you’ll want to add more soil to start “hilling” them, which is the process that permits them to grow vertically. To do this, add a couple of inches of soil around your potato plants, covering the bottom part of their stems. About a third of the plant should be covered with soil. Continue to add soil about every two weeks or until you’ve filled your planter.

Closing Thoughts

Potato planters are a great way to grow potatoes if you have limited space. They are also ideal for preventing pests and tend to be less labor intensive than planting potatoes directly in the ground. To grow potatoes in a planter, you’ll need a container to grow them in, soil and fertilizer, and seed potatoes to plant. Happy harvesting!