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Growing potatoes in 5gal buckets with straw?

Posted by markdpelhamny NY 6b (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 9, 08 at 20:41

I don't have much space to grow potatoes but have a few white 5gal buckets from the local grocer. I've read about a few methods to grow potatoes and wonder if I could fuse them together - I'd like to grow some fingerling or other small potatoes in these buckets (with drainage, soil, etc), starting with some high quality soil mix with plenty of compost and then layering straw on top of the plants up to the top of the bucket. I think potato plants are fairly attactive in flower so want the container for both the minimal footprint and also to be able to move the bucket into my beds as an ornamental once it flowers. Any insights on:
1) Is a 5 gal bucket even feasible or should I be considering something bigger?
2) How many sets can I plan in a 5 gallon bucket? How deep should the soil layer be?
3) Good varieties?
4) General approach to straw potatoes? What sort of soil should I be planting in?
5) Yield?

Straw potatoes are described in:
http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/4DMG/VegFruit/potatoes.htm

Some container potato resources:
http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles0506/potatoespots.asp
http://www.the-organic-gardener.com/growing-potatoes.html


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Growing potatoes in 5gal buckets with straw?

OK I am going to jump in here. I am not using 5 gallon buckets but 18 gallon Rubbermaid containers for some of my potatoes. Some of my potatoes are in the ground in a 12 inch deep bed with leaves on top. The Rubbermaid containers are about the same height as the 5 gallon buckets. I set the seed potatoes out until they got some sprouts. I used a sodder pencil to burn holes in the bottom of the containers and on the inside I put some fiberglass window screen in the bottom so the potting mix will not drain out. I put 6 inches of soiless potting mix in the bottom. I mixed HollyTone fertilizer (4 tablespoons) in the potting mix and also 2 cups of worm castings. I put 3 seed potatoes on top of the potting mix and then covered the entire thing with dry leaves from my yard. Approx 12 inches of leaves. The potting mix I used is Miracle Grow.

As long as you put about 4-6 inches of a good quality potting mix in the bottom of your 5 gallon bucket and maybe 2 seed potatoes per bucket you should be OK. Straw sounds OK to me. If you want really small potatoes use 3 seed potatoes. I want huge potatoes that is why I only used three in the 18 gallon Rubbermaid.

I like Ronninger's Potato Farm for seed potatoes. I planted Maris Piper, Bintje, Yukon Gold and All Blue. The Maris Piper and Bintje are for frying. Yukon Gold is all purpose and All Blue is for my grandson.

Cheers,
DL


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