How To Grow Potatoes In A Bucket Indoors (5 tips when starting out)

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If you’ve ever wondered about how to grow potatoes in a bucket indoors, a simple 5-gallon solution could be your new best friend. The process may seem simple, but the rewards can be pretty satisfying. Imagine the convenience of having fresh, homegrown potatoes right at your fingertips, no matter the season. 

Growing potatoes in a bucket indoors can be a rewarding experience, mainly if you have limited outdoor space or want to enjoy fresh potatoes year-round. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Choose the Right Container: Select a 5-gallon bucket or similar container with drainage holes at the bottom. Ensure the container is clean, sanitized before use, and considered food-grade.
  • Prepare the Potting Mix: Use a well-draining potting mix rich in organic matter, like compost. To provide additional nutrients, you can also mix in compost or aged manure.
  • Planting Potatoes: Place 4-6 inches of potting mix in the bottom of the bucket. Plant seed potatoes (whole or cut into pieces with at least 2-3 eyes per piece) about 4 inches deep, spacing them evenly. Cover the potatoes with another 3-4 inches of potting mix.
  • Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry.
  • Light: Place the bucket in a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. If natural light is insufficient in your region, you can supplement it with indoor grow lights, like LED options.
  • Temperature: Potatoes prefer cool temperatures for growing. Maintain a temperature between 60-70°F (15-21°C) for optimal growth.
  • Fertilizing: Potatoes are heavy feeders. Fertilize the plants with a balanced NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) fertilizer every 2-3 weeks or as needed.
  • Hilling: Add more potting mix to cover the stems and protruding leaves as the potato plants grow. Some growers opt to leave a few inches of the plant exposed, which encourages the plants to produce more potatoes along the buried stems.
  • Harvesting: Potatoes are ready to harvest when the plants turn yellow and die back. Carefully dump out the bucket to harvest your potatoes.
  • Storage: Cure the potatoes in a cool, dark place for about two weeks after harvesting. Store them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated area to prevent sprouting.
closeup of small brown seed potato with eyes and sprouts on dark wooden table

In this article, we’ll cover several insider steps to help get your indoor potatoes off to an excellent start and keep them that way. We’ll cover everything from selecting the best potato varieties to overall plant care and storage. So, let’s get started on this unique bucket adventure and see where it takes you! 

Humble Highlights

  • Discover these unique 8 potato varieties that make excellent choices for growing in buckets AND how to properly prepare your seed potatoes for maximum results so you can experiment with different varieties that may not be well-suited for outdoor growing in your region.
  • Save time by choosing the best container for your homegrown potatoes with this quick reference chart and why your bucket needs to have these 4 characteristics so you can have complete control over the growing conditions, including temperature, humidity, and light intensity.
  • Uncover how to plant and care for your spuds when cultivating them in buckets and discover the best position for your seed potatoes so you can share your indoor gardening experiences and produce with friends and family while creating connections with like-minded growers within your community. 

Selecting Potato Varieties

To cultivate potatoes indoors, choose varieties well-suited for growing in buckets. When selecting varieties of potatoes for indoor bucket growing, consider spuds, known for their adaptability to container environments and can thrive indoors. Additionally, look for compact varieties that can comfortably grow in confined spaces, making them ideal for indoor cultivation. Several good indoor options include:

  • La Ratte
  • Purple Majesty
  • Adirondack Blue
  • Kennebec
  • French Fingerling
  • Russian Blue
  • Red Norland
  • Yukon Gold
how to plant potatoes in a bucket indoors

Opting for potato varieties with shorter growing seasons is advantageous for indoor growing as it allows you to harvest your potatoes sooner. Selections like Accent, Creamy, Irish Cobbler, and purple-skinned Caribe make excellent choices. 1

Disease resistance is another critical factor when selecting potato varieties for indoor bucket growing. Choosing disease-resistant varieties can minimize potential issues during the growing process. 

Furthermore, select potato varieties based on your preferences regarding taste, texture, and how you plan to use the potatoes in your culinary endeavors. You can set yourself up for a successful indoor potato growing experience by carefully choosing the right potato varieties.

Preparing Seed Potatoes

For ideal sprouting of your seed potatoes, select ones with multiple eyes or sprout them near a window to encourage growth. Seed potatoes should be obtained from a reputable source, and the varieties chosen should be suited to your growing conditions and preferences. Before planting, it’s essential to chit or sprout the seed potatoes. To do this, place them in a cool, bright location that encourages the development of sturdy sprouts that will grow into potato plants.

can you grow potatoes in a bucket

Preparing seed potatoes for planting is crucial to ensure a successful and healthy potato crop. Here’s how to prepare seed potatoes:

  • Choose Healthy Seed Potatoes: Select certified disease-free seed potatoes from a reputable source. Choose varieties that are well-suited to your climate and growing conditions. 2
  • Chit or Sprout Seed Potatoes: About 4-6 weeks before planting, place the seed potatoes in a cool, dry, and well-lit location to encourage sprouting. This process, known as chitting, helps the seed potatoes develop vigorous sprouts before planting.
  • Cut Larger Seed Potatoes: If your seed potatoes are large, you can cut them into smaller pieces, each containing at least one or two eyes (sprouts). Allow the cut pieces to dry for a day or two before planting to prevent rotting.
  • Small Seed Potatoes: Small seed potatoes can be planted whole if they have at least one or two eyes.
  • Prevent Disease: To reduce the risk of disease, dust the cut sides of the seed potatoes with agricultural sulfur or a fungicide powder before planting.
  • Planting Depth: Plant the prepared seed potatoes about 4-6 inches deep in the soil or potting mix, with the sprouts facing up.
  • Spacing: Space the seed potatoes about 8-12 inches apart in rows 2-3 feet apart.

Maintain ideal moisture levels by watering regularly, ensuring the soil remains damp but not saturated. Place the container in a sunny spot to provide adequate sunlight for your growing potatoes.

Humble Tip:

It’s also important to avoid direct sunlight during the chitting process. While chitting seed potatoes in a bright location is beneficial to encourage sprouting, direct sunlight can cause the potatoes to turn green. 

Green potatoes contain a toxic compound called solanine, which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. To prevent this, place your seed potatoes in a location where they receive bright, indirect light rather than direct sunlight during the chitting process.

Choosing The Right Container

Consider selecting a container with a minimum capacity of 5 gallons when choosing a suitable container for growing potatoes indoors. Opt for sturdy and deep containers that provide ample space for the plant’s roots and tubers. Look for containers with proper drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and promote healthy root development. 

It is crucial to choose a clean, sanitized container to prevent potential diseases. Additionally, prioritize lightweight and manageable containers that can be easily moved around for ideal light exposure and maintenance. 3

Below is a table summarizing the key characteristics to look for in a container for indoor potato growing:

CharacteristicDescriptionExample
CapacityMinimum 5-gallon capacity5-gallon bucket
Drainage HolesNecessary for proper water drainageDrilled holes in the bottom
SturdinessContainer should be sturdyThick plastic container
DepthDeep container for root growth12-inch deep pot

Growing potatoes in a bucket indoors can be a fun and rewarding way to enjoy fresh, homegrown potatoes. With the proper care and attention, you can harvest a bountiful crop of potatoes right from your own home. Take a few minutes and check out the video below that provides a ton of details on how to start and maintain potato plants indoors – perfect for those with limited space or who want to extend their season!

Planting And Caring For Potatoes

When planting and caring for potatoes indoors, a 5-gallon bucket with drainage holes is recommended for best growth. Ensure the bucket has sufficient drainage at the bottom to prevent pooling and stagnant water, which could potentially harm the potatoes.

Sow sprouted seed potatoes about 4 inches deep in a soil layer, ensuring the eyes are facing skyward for proper growth. Place the bucket in an area that receives at least 5-6 hours of bright, filtered sunlight daily to support healthy development.

Water the potatoes regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged, to promote growth. Even though these plants like water, you’ll want to be cautious not to overwater, as excess water can lead to issues with root health. Additionally, fertilize the potatoes every two weeks after planting to provide essential nutrients for their continued growth. 4

Humble Tip:

Many home gardeners may need to know that indoor-grown potatoes require adequate ventilation to simulate outdoor conditions. While indoor environments can offer protection from typical pests and diseases, they can also create an unnecessarily humid environment that promotes fungal growth and rot in potatoes. 

Ensure the area where your potatoes are growing is well-ventilated. You can achieve this by oscillating fans or opening windows that promote air circulation, which can help reduce humidity levels and keep your indoor-grown potatoes healthy.

how to grow potatoes indoors

Harvesting And Storage

When the foliage of your potato plants begins to yellow and die back, it’s time to start harvesting and preparing for storage. Harvest potatoes by tipping the bucket into a wheelbarrow or large tarp or gently digging them up with a garden fork, taking care to not damage the delicate tubers. 

Once harvested, you can dry the potatoes in the sun for a day or so to help toughen their skin before storing them. Potatoes must be stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place to prevent sprouting and rotting. 5

Regularly check the stored potatoes for any signs of sprouting or softening to guarantee they last through the winter months. Remember, spuds are a great source of nutrients, including vitamin C and potassium, making them an excellent addition to your garden’s growing cycle.

how to grow potatoes in a bucket

Conclusion

Growing potatoes in a bucket indoors is a rewarding and practical way to enjoy fresh produce year-round. Harvesting and storing your potatoes properly will ensure you have a bountiful supply of this versatile vegetable all year round.

You can successfully harvest your homegrown potatoes by selecting the right varieties, properly preparing seed potatoes, choosing a suitable container, and providing proper care throughout the growing process.

Remember to harvest when the plant’s leaves turn yellow and die back, and store them correctly to enjoy your spuds well past harvest. 

What steps have you taken to grow a bountiful potato crop indoors in a bucket? We’d love to know your secret sauce and if your process includes any of the tips included in this article. Take a few minutes and drop us a line in the comment section below and share with your fellow home gardeners!

SOURCES

  1. IOPScience – Evaluation Of Potato Varieties As A Source Material For Selection
  2. University Of Nebraska-Lincoln, Institute Of Agriculture And Natural Resources – Planting Seed Potatoes (plant potato)
  3. University Of Maryland, Extension – Growing Potatoes In A Home Garden
  4. Kansas State University, Research And Extension Johnson County – Growing Potatoes
  5. Michigan State University, Extension – Where To Store Potatoes?

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