Lets talk Taters

I never realized that growing potatoes is actually pretty easy and best grown in a container to boot. Last summer I planted some sweet potatoes and though they were no fuss to grow they were major fuss to harvest. You have to dig them up archaeological style as to not bruise the skin in the slightest.

This year I'm taking a different route and trying my hand at growing Yukon gold and red potatoes.

About two weeks ago I purchased 3 Yukon golds and 3 red potatoes at my favorite Tulsa nursery for around $2 total. Its best to buy "seed" potatoes from a nursery rather than using grocery store taters. Most potatoes in grocery stores have an agent that keeps them from sprouting too quickly. I brought those babies home and left them in a brown paper sack in my laundry room for a few weeks. It was still a bit too cold here to plant them and, unlike if you were planing to eat them, I needed those little eyes to sprout a bit. 

Every eye on the potato = 1 plant, therefore, you could get around 5-8 plants per potato. 

This was two (red) potatoes worth of eyes only using the ones that had sprouted. They don't have to be sprouted super tall to plant but since I was limited on pot space I chose the best sprouts to start with.

Is it just me or do the sprouts resemble a sea creature of sorts? I love that vivid purple/pink color. Don't worry if your taters start to get mushy - this is completely fine for growing. You can see below my Yukon golds were starting to shrivel a bit.

With a small pairing knife I cut the potato up to give me just the eyes. The extra tater can be chunked in the compost bin or trash. Some people just plant the entire potato and skip cutting them up - that's 100% a personal choice

I ended up only using the eyes from two potatoes from each variety, had I thought ahead and bought more than 3 containers I would have been able to plant 5 containers worth with the eyes from each variety!

Here is the neat thing about growing potatoes - they are a mounding plant, which simply means you have to add more potting soil to the container as it grows rather than all at once. I have seem people use (clean) trash cans and laundry baskets to grow these in - the taller the better! 

For these 15" tall pots I filled them maybe 5" tall with potting soil. I added 5 eyes to the bottom of each container and covered them completely. Granted you do want your potato eyes to be buried just not uber deep. If you are planting full potatoes and not single eyes I would suggest 2-3 potatoes per square foot. Once you start seeing the growth on each plant you will add more soil to cover it. You can let them grow maybe 12" tall before covering about 1/3rd of the plant again. Just make sure the small potatoes that appear either get a) picked and eaten (hints new potatoes) or b) covered with soil. 


You can harvest your taters after about 100 days - they are best grown in full sun and watered but well drained (they will rot!) It is completely fine if you run out of room in your container, that just means your yield has stopped. Let the plant continue to grow and get green/luscious. When its time to harvest gently dump your container out and see your veggies!

Pretty handy, eh? You'll even get lots of extra pretty greenery as you go from the plants. Are you going to give it a try? Make sure to send me pictures if you do!!!!

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