Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Growing Potatoes in a Barrel

Potatoes are an important crop in my vegetable garden. I plant Norland red potatoes because they are great for boiling, baking and frying. This year I wanted to save space, so I grew them in a barrel. Here's the video that got me started.

I used a 55-gallon plastic barrel cut in half with slits in the bottom for drainage. I started with six inches of soil, placed my seed potatoes on top and covered them with an additional inch of soil.

Once they sprouted, I covered the leaves completely with more potting soil. I wasn't sure it would work, but they sprouted again, even more vigourously. I had enough room to cover them one more time. Then I left them alone until flowering was complete and the leaves died.

Wayne dug some potatoes this week for his famous sliced potatoes and onions cooked in foil on the BBQ. This picture shows the ones that came out of about one fifth of the barrel. I'm going to leave the rest in the soil and dig them as needed. They will rest there without sprouting for several months, insulated from the cold by the well drained soil. They'll be nice to have this winter for soups, stews and baked in foil in our wood burning stove. Growing potatoes in a barrel was a huge success. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed. -- Margy


  1. Anonymous9:25 AM

    Margy, That is so great. I was wondering all summer how your potatoes in a barrel turned out.Maybe I will try it next year.

  2. Glad you liked them Betty. When I plant potatoes in my garden bed they often result in only a few large ones and the rest are small. Using the barrel technique I got mostly large potatoes and the small ones. Plus the space saving feature makes it a great way to go. - Margy

  3. I LOVE that suggestion....I was just telling my hubby about it...we have a few of those barrels here....Oh I am going to plant those next year....potatoes here we come...thank so much for the info!!

  4. Very cool! I've seen people growing potatoes in stacked car tires too.

  5. How many potatoes did you get?

  6. Jane - You know, I've never really counted. They come in all sizes and I even keep and use the small ones. They are great in soups. The crop you see in the picture was about one third of what I took out of the barrel. I left the others in the dirt that year until they were needed. Unfortunately, by the end some small worms got to them. I now harvest the whole crop in fall, wrap them in newspaper and keep them in a cool place. They last until about February for eating and then the rest become extra seed potatoes for the following year's crop. - Margy

  7. Tom Ezzejj4:30 PM

    This is great informatiom, how many potatoes do you put in the bottom of barrel.


  8. Hi Tom - I usually cut the potatoes in half if there are enough eyes and let them dry overnight. Them I plan them about 4 inches apart at the bottom of the barrel. I am sure that is too close together, but it seems to work OK. That's probably why I get smaller potatoes. If I planted them farther apart they probably would have the space and food supply to grow larger. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy