If you've never grown your own potatoes, now is the time to try! The versatile root vegetable is easy to grow in a small backyard garden, on a patio, or on an apartment balcony— even without a green thumb. With full sun and consistent watering, your potato plants can produce a bountiful harvest each season.
Potatoes are notorious for hogging space in small home gardens, but a potato planter provides a simple solution that saves space for other fruits and veggies. Amazingly, growing potatoes in an enclosed planter or bin can actually lead to a larger harvest! By forcing the plant to grow upwards instead of outwards, your plant produces a greater amount of potatoes in less than half the space.
To help you create the perfect home for your potato plants, we've broken down a few easy DIY potato planter, bucket, tower, and bag ideas to add to your home garden.
Four easy ways to build your own potato planter, tower, bin, and bag:
Wooden Slat Potato Planter
Potato planters don't need to be expensive or complicated to build. A simple box made from wooden slats or an old wooden palette will do just the trick! For a small potato crop, you'll need to build a planter with a 2' square box that's at least 3' deep.
Here's how to build a wooden slat potato planter:
- Begin by cutting your boards to the correct length. To create a 2' x 2' x 3' planter, you'll need to cut four 3' longboards and about twelve to sixteen 2' longboards.
- Next, pre-drill two holes on each end of the 2' boards, about ¾" away from the edge.
- Now, you're ready to build the outer frame of your planter. Screw together the ends of four of the shorter boards together to form a frame. Repeat until you've used all of your 2' boards.
- Place one of the 3' long boards inside the corner of one of the frames and secure. Repeat on all four corners. This frame will be the base of your box, so choose one that looks extra sturdy. Once you've finished this step, your planter should look a bit like an upside-down table.
- One by one, stack the frames on top of the base, securing the corners as you go until you've fully assembled your wooden slat potato planter.
- When it's time to harvest your potatoes, simply remove one of the bottom slats with your drill for easy access to your crop.
Growing Potatoes in a bucket
For a budget-friendly option, try building your potato planter from large plastic bucket. While they aren't the most aesthetically-pleasing option, plastic bucket potato planters only require two items you already have around the home: a drill and any plastic storage tub or 5-gallon bucket.
Here's how to make a DIY plastic potato bin:
- To avoid soggy soil and rotten potatoes, you'll need to drill drainage holes in the bottom of your bin. Using a drill or another sharp tool, poke around twenty small holes evenly throughout the base.
- Fill your bin about ⅔ full with a mixture of soil and compost. Plant your potatoes three to six inches apart at various depths in the containers. Water thoroughly and voila!
Chicken Wire Potato Tower
To create a temporary potato planter in your garden, try this chicken wire and newspaper planter tower. Using a piece of 6' to 8' long chicken wire, hardware cloth, or snow fencing, you can easily build a planter large enough to yield a plentiful harvest.
Here's how to build your own chicken wire potato tower:
- Using wire cutters, cut the fencing to your desired size.
- Bend the wire fencing into a circular shape, wrapping the loose ends around each other to close the loop.
- For increased stability, you can secure your fencing using a few garden stakes.
- Layer five to six layers of newspaper or bales of straw around the inside of the wire. This newspaper or straw layer will hold the soil and potato plants securely in your wire planter. By the end of the season, your newspaper or straw will have degraded into the soil.
- Fill to the top of the newspapers with a mixture of compost and potting soil. Plant your potatoes and water.
- You can add additional newspaper or straw layers throughout the growing season and repeat the process until the bin is full to increase your harvest.
DIY Potato Bags
The most foolproof way of growing potatoes is using grow bags. You can use bags that you have from around the house, such as 30-gallon trash bags, grocery bags, fabric material bags, or compostable material bags. This method is super easy, and it is a fun way to get your kids involved. This is a perfect method to try to grow your own potato with no gardening experience needed. All you need are some large bags, a pair of scissors, dirt, agricultural sulfur, and seed potato.
Here's how to create your own potato grow bags:
- Use a scissor and a few drainage holes at the bottom of your bags.
- Fill up your bags with dirt and agricultural sulfur but leave some room to place potato seeds.
- Place your seed potato and then add more soil on top. Then place your bag in a warm area that receives full sun.
Tips for Growing Potatoes in DIY Planters
Potatoes are a relatively easy vegetable to grow at home. When planting potatoes in planters or bins instead of garden beds, follow these helpful tips to ensure a bountiful harvest:
- Choose a spot with full sun — Place your planters in a location where they'll receive direct sunlight for 6 to 8 hours per day.
- Water on a consistent schedule — To maintain a consistent moisture level, water every 4 to 5 weeks during the first weeks after planting and every day or every other day, 6 to 8 weeks after planting. The soil should be moist but not soggy.
- Keep your potatoes fully covered — To prevent your potatoes from forming green skin, keep them fully covered with soil and prevent any contact with sunlight.
- Opt for airy, well-drained soil — Potatoes grow best in rich, loamy soil with proper drainage for the root system to expand. Add a healthy dose of compost to give your plants the nutrients they need to succeed.
- Store your potatoes in a dark place — To extend the life of your harvested potatoes, store them in a dark, cool place like a basement, root cellar, or pantry.
- Add agriculture sulfur — By adding sulfur into the soil will protect potatoes against rot and prevent other diseases.
- Pick Seed Potatoes — Start with organic, certified disease-free seed potatoes from the store or pre-sprout them by simply laying them out on your kitchen counter.