Potato Farm

If you had to, you could live on almost nothing but potatoes. That’s made them one of the most important crops in human history. Entire civilizations would not have existed without them. And you can grow this powerful food crop in a 5 gallon bucket.

potatoes grown in a 5 gallon bucketThere’s a trick to growing high potato yields. As the potatoes grow, continue piling soil onto the plants. This forces the plants to supercharge their root growth to keep up. Those roots are what we call potatoes. Now you know why potatoes are grown in hills.

When growing potatoes in buckets, start with a couple inches of growing medium (compost works great) and build up the soil level as the season progresses. Here’s a great video by Mel Bartholomew explaining how he does potatoes in buckets.

Proper Drainage

While water is of utmost important in growing plants, properly draining excess water away is a close second.

drilling holes in a 5 gallon bucket

I’ve had a few questions from people who have tried growing potatoes in buckets but only ended up with a crop of mush. This is probably an issue of improper drainage. You have to drill drainage holes in your bucket if you are using it to grow plants! This applies not just for potatoes but for any plant grown in your buckets

Alternatively, you can fill the bottom few inches of your bucket with gravel. This is the same principle that indoor hanging baskets use to supply drainage. You just have to take care not to water your plant so heavily that the water level inside the bucket reaches your soil layer.

Yield of Bucket Potatoes

According to folks who have calculated yield for potato buckets, you can expect about an average yield of 1.5 pounds of potatoes per bucket.

I like to compare this number with the amount of potatoes you need to survive for a year. You can survive on potatoes alone, remember? It takes about 6 pounds of potatoes to equal that magic 2000 calories a day you need to be healthy. So you will need about one bucket’s crop of potatoes for each meal.

That means that if you’re growing potatoes for survival, you really need to accomplish a much higher yield, or grow your spuds right in the ground.

Grow More with Buckets!

Also see our detailed tutorial on growing sweet potatoes in buckets or watch our new Gardening with 5 Gallon Buckets video for growing many other plant varieties.

Posted on by

14 thoughts on “Potato Farm

    • You can grow potatoes in a bucket in Texas, but you need to start really early and give them time to be done in the spring so that they don’t have to do a lot of growing in the summer heat.

  1. Pingback: Gardening with kids (activities, projects and ideas for backyard) - Craftionary

  2. Question: Should holes be punched in the bottom of the buckets used for growing the potatoes or growing anything? Comment above states he ended up with a bucket of mush. Thanks.

  3. I did this this for the first time this yr. I got 5 little potatoes out of one bucket (about the size of a nickle) just the other day. The tops had died off so I don’t know what happened. I still have one bucket to go that hasn’t quite died back yet. Very disappointed. Prolly won’t mess with growing them this way next yr.

  4. Hi Trevor,

    Thank you for sharing this. I was talking to a farmer a month ago and saw she was growing potato in buckets. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen – especially for city living. We setup 5 buckets with potatoes feeding them only organic compost and waiting for our spuds to grow. – Thank you for sharing!

  5. How often and how much water is required to grow potatoes in 5 gal buckets.I have drain holes,my tator vines have grown over a foot above the bucket,and they were planted about 2 Inches from the bottom.they have been inside, except a few hours on two occasions,

    • you can carefully dig down into your buckets and find potatoes. be careful not to puncture or you will have to pick that potato. do not detach them from the main root vines. you can then cover them back up with soil and keep them growing if they are too small for you. as long as the plant is still alive you can “steal” potatoes from it whenever you need to.

  6. I don’t know when you are supposed to harvest the potatoes.
    I waited until they’d finished flowering but the potatoes were small and only a few after months of watering and watching… appreciate your comment.

    • Should work but I think a “potato tower” is a more popular option. Might be a moisture thing – maybe not enough drainage with the trench method. Depends on your climate though.

  7. I have 2.5 pounds of potatoes that i bought for gardening, how many potatoes in one 15 gallon bucket do i put in? This is my first time growing potatoes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>