The Ultimate Guide to Growing Potatoes in Laundry Baskets

fengye
5 min readDec 26, 2023

growing potatoes in a laundry basket

I. Selecting the Right Laundry Basket

The size and depth of the basket are important. They ensure ample room for root growth. A laundry basket at least 16 inches in diameter and at least 12 inches deep is ideal.

You should opt for a sturdy plastic or metal basket. They can withstand outdoor elements and will last for multiple growing seasons. Additionally, ensure that the basket has proper drainage holes to prevent waterlogged soil and potential rotting of the potatoes.

Accessibility and mobility are also important factors. Look for a laundry basket with handles. You can easily move around as needed. Place the basket on a wheeled platform or dolly for even easier maneuvering.

II. Choosing the Right Potatoes

1. Potato Varieties Suitable for Container Gardening

Some potato varieties that have proven successful in container gardening include fingerling potatoes, red potatoes, and Yukon gold potatoes. These varieties tend to have a more compact growth habit. They are ideal for growing in smaller spaces.

2. Space Limitations and Yield Expectations

If you have limited space, opt for varieties that produce smaller potatoes. For example, fingerling potatoes or red potatoes. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a higher yield, consider growing varieties which produce larger tubers. For example, Yukon gold potatoes.

3. Tips for Sourcing High-Quality Seed Potatoes

To ensure success in your potato container garden, it’s crucial to source high-quality seed potatoes. These are disease-free and have a better chance of producing healthy plants. Look for certified seed potatoes from reputable sources. For example, local farmers or reputable online retailers. Avoid using store-bought potatoes. They are often treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting.

III. Preparing the Laundry Basket for Planting

1. Choosing the Right Soil Mix

Potatoes prefer loose, well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. A good mix to use is equal parts of compost, expanded perlite, and topsoil. This will provide a healthy balance of nutrients, moisture retention, and drainage for your potato plants.

2. Adding Organic Matter and Nutrients

To further enrich the soil in your laundry basket, it’s recommended to add organic matter and nutrients. This can be done by mixing in compost or aged manure. They will provide essential minerals and beneficial microorganisms for your potato plants.

You can also use balanced fertilizer when growing potatoes in clothes basket. For example, 10–10–10. Mix these additives into the soil thoroughly before planting potatoes in laundry baskets.

IV. How to Grow Potatoes in a Laundry Basket?

1. Guide to Planting Potatoes in a Laundry Basket

You will need a laundry basket, seed potatoes, potting mix. Fill the basket with 4–6 inches of potting mix. Select healthy seed potatoes and cut them into pieces with at least two eyes each. Growing potatoes in laundry basket about 4 inches deep. ​Eyes facing up and covered with soil.

Water thoroughly and place in a sunny spot. As the potato plants grow, add more potting mix to cover the stems and leaves. Leave just the top few inches exposed. Continue to water regularly and ensure adequate sunlight for optimal growth.

2. Laundry Basket Potato Planting Spacing and Depth

When growing potatoes in a laundry basket, proper spacing and depth ensure healthy growth and maximum yield. Ideally, each potato should have 4–6 inches of space for root development. You should plant the seed potatoes 4 inches deep. This will provide enough room for the potatoes to grow without being too shallow or deep. You can also build a potatoes square foot garden.

V. Caring for Your Potato Plants

A. Watering Techniques

Potato plants need consistent moisture for sustained growth. As the soil dries out quickly in plastic pots, regular watering is essential. It is best to water the plants every day, especially during hot weather. Ensure the soil remains moist but not waterlogged.

Insert your finger into the soil up to an inch deep to check. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. Always water at the base of the plant. Avoiding wetting the foliage to prevent the risk of fungal diseases.

B. Fertilization Guidelines

Potato plants require a continuous supply of nutrients for optimal growth. Use a balanced fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. Follow the recommended dosage on the label. Avoid using high-nitrogen fertilizers. They can result in excessive leaf growth and reduce potato yields.

C. Managing Pests and Diseases

To avoid infestations, regularly inspect your plants for signs of damage or discoloration. If you notice any issues, promptly treat them with organic pest control methods. For example, neem oil or insecticidal soap.

In addition to pests, fungal diseases such as blight or scab can also affect potato plants. Avoid overhead watering to prevent these. Ensure proper air circulation around the plants.

VI. Providing Adequate Sunlight

Laundry basket potatoes require 6–8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Therefore, position your laundry basket in an area with maximum sunlight exposure. When choosing the placement for your laundry basket, consider the direction of the sun and any potential obstructions.

For a warm climate, place the laundry basket in an area with morning sunlight and afternoon shade. For a cool climate, place your laundry basket in an area with full sun throughout the day. Move your basket closer to a south-facing window during the winter months. You can also add reflective materials to maximize sunlight exposure.

VII. Harvesting Potatoes in Laundry Basket

1. Signs for Harvest

The plants have fully matured and started to die back. You can see the tops of the potatoes peeking through the soil. The skin of the potatoes feels firm and does not easily peel off when scratched.

2. Harvesting Techniques

Use a small shovel or garden fork to dig around the outside of the basket and loosen the soil. Gently lift the baskets out of the soil. Shake off any excess dirt.

Carefully remove the potatoes from the soil. Be careful not to drop or bruise them. If you accidentally cut or damage a potato, use it right away. Because it will not store well.

3. Storage Options

Store in a cool place with good air circulation. For example, a root cellar or basement. Place potatoes in mesh bags or baskets to allow for proper ventilation. Avoid storing potatoes near apples, onions, or other fruits and vegetables. They produce ethylene gas, which can cause potatoes to sprout.

--

--

fengye

I'm a horticulture specialist, my job is to give objective, evidence-based recommendations to help home gardeners.