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  • Writer's pictureJulia Watson

Potatoes in Pots

potato plant with flower
Did you know this is what a potato flower looks like?

Last week I planted potatoes; March is a good time for planting potatoes here in Northern California. Local nurseries often have different varieties of seed potatoes in stock, and they’re fun to grow, especially if you have children. They can help at planting time, then in a few months they can dig to find little potatoes.

I recommend growing them in pots, as long as you can keep them watered. Pots always dry out more than in-ground plantings, so keep that in mind. I have special two-part potato pots, made with an inner basket with cut-out sides. At harvest time you lift that out and it’s easier to see the potatoes. I bought mine from Kinsman Company, but you might find them at your local nursery. These work well, but in truth it’s not a problem to use a regular pot and simply dump it all out at harvest time.

potato pot
Kinsman potato pot

The potatoes you grow this way won’t be any savings over store-bought, but I think they taste better. There are many, many varieties available. I recommend German Butterball, but Yukon Gold is also good and that's what I'm growing this year. If you want unusual varieties, take a look at catalogs like Territorial Seed or Johnny's. You can try them all and let me know which ones you like best.

I’m not sure how this happens – whether seeds fell into the potted soil or whether we didn’t remove some tiny but viable potatoes – but somehow we always end up with volunteer potatoes. Theses are usually in the “compost” pile at the back of our yard (see my post on making compost the lazy way). They don't amount to much in the way of edible potatoes, but they're an amusing example of how plants are determined to grow and reproduce.

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