Whether you want to take up a new hobby or to have a nearby, sustainable source of food, an indoor garden is a boon. You can grow many edible plants indoors, including potatoes. How, though, do you go about fostering a successful potato crop in an indoor container? We have looked into this topic to find the best methods to get you on your way!
It's easier than you might think to grow potatoes in a container indoors. To do so, all you need to do is:
- Prepare Your Base Potato
- Choose A Potato Container
- Plant Your Potatoes
- Water and Feed Your Potatoes
- Start Hilling
- Harvest Your Crop
So, think you're ready to move your garden indoors? Let's dive into the details behind each of these steps so your next potato crop can be as fruitful as possible.
How To Grow Potatoes In A Container Indoors
Indoor gardeners have been experimenting with the environments in which plants can grow for a good long while. If you're just getting into the practice, though, it'll be best to start with a hearty crop like the potato.
Where do you start, though, when you want to grow potatoes indoors? Take a gander through the following steps and see for yourself how easy getting into the practice can be.
1. Prepare Your Base Potato
The great thing about growing potatoes is that you don't have to grow your new crop from seed. If you have potatoes around the house that have sprouted - or that have at least one eye - you'll be able to use that potato to start your new crop.
Even if you have potatoes without sprouts, you'll be able to chit the existing potatoes to make them viable crops. To "chit" a potato, you must examine your potato for an eye that looks as though it'll sprout, and then keep that potato in your windowsill until it does.
Once you've chit a potato or found one with existing sprouts, it's time to prepare them for planting. Ideally, the potato you plant needs to be no larger than two inches in diameter. If you have a larger potato on hand, you can cut the potato down to size without putting your future crop at risk. However, you'll need to let a re-shaped potato sit for at least two days before planting it so that the cuts can rest and better protect the meat of the potato during its growing phase.
2. Choose A Potato Container
While you're chitting a potato or allowing a cut potato to rest, you must choose a container in which you want your crop to grow. Potatoes can grow in just about any kind of container, from a dedicated planting pot to a non-toxic plastic bag. Choose which container best suits your needs and lifestyle, then prepare it with the appropriate amount of dirt and fertilizer.
Your newly cut potatoes will need at least four inches of loose potting soil in which to grow when first planted.
See some great options here - Best Potato planter boxes
3. Plant Your Potatoes
Once the chitting and cutting process is complete and you have a container on hand, it's time to get planting! Make sure you leave at least two inches between all the potatoes you plant in your container. You'll also want to make sure not to bury your potatoes. Instead, you leave them on top of the loose soil. Point the sprout you want to grow upwards so it can get the most light. Then, once your potatoes are positioned, moisten the soil - but don't let water pool!
4. Water and Feed Your Potatoes
From this point on, the next few weeks should be easy going. You'll need to make sure that your potatoes receive a reasonable amount of natural light daily, capping at eight hours of direct light. You won't need to water your potatoes more than once every three days, but be sure to check the soil and make sure it hasn't gone too dry.
You'll also want to consider adding additional fertilizer to your potato container. For the best growth, be sure to dilute your fertilizer of choice, as you can easily overwhelm your potatoes and stunt their growth where you meant to foster it.
5. Start Hilling
As your potato spouts grow, you'll want to start hilling the potatoes themselves. This process involves keeping your potato bases under loose soil, limiting their exposure to light. However, you do not want to cover the sprout coming up from your potato. Instead, once your sprout has grown up to six inches, create mounds of soil around the sprout's base, allowing for the growth to remain untouched.
6. Harvest Your Crops
After you hill your potatoes, you'll need to watch the sprout to determine when the best time to harvest your crop is. Usually, your potato crop will be done growing once a sprout turns yellow or dies.
If you notice your sprouts starting to die off, pull at least one potato out from its mound and test the skin. The skin should stay in place when rubbed gently with one of your forefingers.
Should your potatoes be ready for harvest, pull them from their hills by the stem and divide them by the spud. They'll need to dry in natural sunlight for at least a few hours before they're ready to be cooked.
Ideally, you'll be able to pull one or two spuds from this crop to chit. This way, you'll be able to start the growing process all over again.
How Long Do Potatoes Take To Grow Indoors?
You know the ins and outs of growing potatoes indoors - but how long should you expect to wait before you can make your homegrown potato dishes?
The amount of time your potatoes will need to grow will vary based on the variety you've planted. On average, potatoes take between 70 and 120 days to reach maturity. This growing time will be influenced not only by the species of potato you're growing, but by the size of your container, the soil you're growing your plants in, and the environment in which your potatoes are growing.
Want to experiment with your potato growth? While you shouldn't expect potatoes to grow at rapid speeds, experiment with the fertilizer you're using or the containers in which you plant your starters. The more you experiment, the sooner you'll find a potato growing pattern that suits your needs.
How Large Does Your Container Need To Be To Grow Potatoes?
You're going to need a fairly large container in which to grow your potatoes. Potatoes, while not huge plants, do need a reasonable amount of space to grow, and if they're crowded, your crop will be smaller than you'd like.
Ideally, you'll want to plant your potato growth in a container that is, at a minimum, fourteen inches in diameter. The pot will need to be deep enough to accommodate the later hilling that your potatoes need. You also must make sure that your container drains easily, or else you'll risk drowning out your potato plant's root system.
Some examples of potential potato containers include:
The Potato Pouch
This design may not be the first thing you think of when the word "container" comes to mind, but it's been proven to grow many kinds of produce successfully, potatoes included. The clear flap will let you see how your potato plants are doing throughout their growth cycle, and the equipped handles will make the container easy to use.
Your Standard Plastic Vegetable Planter Pots
Looking for a container that's a little more traditional? You'll never go wrong with plastic vegetable planter pots. These pots are easy to fill with dirt and will have enough space to accommodate one thriving potato plant. Make sure yours has the drainage holes in the bottom so that your potato plant can thrive!
Hanging Potato Bags
Want a potato container that you can hang and forget about? The hanging potato bag takes the potato pouch one step further. You'll be able to hang this bag in a well-ventilated location and watch your potatoes grow in real-time. The convenience of the bag will still allow your potatoes the space they need to grow while also keeping the container out of your way.
When it comes down to it, however, you should always feel free to improvise with the container you use to grow your potatoes in. You can opt to use a pot that's deliberately been made for indoor plant growth, but you can also use a non-toxic trash bag or a storage container that you've emptied and cleaned. Don't be afraid to get creative, but make sure that your container is, at a minimum, non-toxic and chemical-free.
How Many Potatoes Will One Plant Produce?
The number of potatoes you get off of a single plant will vary based on the conditions in which you're growing your potatoes. If you've treated your potato plant with care and met all of its needs, you could harvest between five and ten potatoes per plant. However, if your potatoes have undergone a mid-growth transplant, or you forgot to water them for a week, you may harvest between two and four.
Why Should You Grow Potatoes Indoors?
Whether you live in an apartment or just want easier access to your garden, there are several benefits to growing potatoes indoors. These include:
- Less plant exposure to critters who may see fit to eat your crop.
- New and exciting ways to teach any little ones about the science behind plant growth.
- Immediate access to healthy and sustainable food, no matter what time of year it is.
- No need to worry about the lack of garden space or participating in a plot lottery at your local community garden.
It doesn't matter whether you have a green thumb or you've never grown produce indoors before. There's no better time to experiment with an indoor garden than now. If you have a sprouted potato on your hands, find a suitable pot, fill it up, and see what happens. In a few months, you may be able to call your friends and invite them over for a meal that's truly 100 percent sustainable.