MASTER GARDENERS: Grow your own potatoes

As a home gardener you may want to grow potatoes in a bucket or grow bag instead of the ground. The reasons are 1) you don’t have to dig them up, and 2) if you don’t get every single piece of potato, you will have them forever. If you are wanting to grow pounds and pounds of potatoes, then grow them in the ground.

I am going to talk about growing potatoes in buckets and grow bags.

First, purchase seed potatoes from a certified distributor. Seed potatoes are not seeds, they are potatoes. They are like a mother plant. Potatoes from the grocery store may have been treated with a sprout inhibitor. Seed potatoes are best planted between mid-January and mid-March.

Next, cut the seed potatoes into pieces with at least two eyes each. Store pieces at room temperature for 1 to 2 days before planting to allow the cuts to form calluses.

If you are using a bucket or another container, make sure there is adequate drainage. Grow bags have drainage.

In your bucket or grow bag, put about six inches of soil. Put in the potato pieces about six inches apart then cover with about three inches of soil.

As the leafy part of the potato grows, add straw or shredded paper or even some soil around the stems.

I put my buckets on my regular drip system. Once the rain stops the buckets are watered twice a week.

Potatoes are ready to harvest when the vines die back.

Yes, it’s that easy!

In Colusa County, seed potatoes are available at Griff’s Feed and Seed in Colusa. Griff’s has red, white, gold and purple potatoes available right now. That is the only place I can find them. If you know of somewhere else in Colusa County, let me know.

I know this is going to sound odd, but growing potatoes makes me feel like a real farmer!

For more gardening information go to cecolusa.ucanr.edu/Master_Gardeners.