Plant Your Potatoes In A Laundry Basket And Watch What Happens

TikTok is known for its wild hacks, and planting potatoes in laundry baskets seems like one of the stranger gardening suggestions. However, if you're short on garden space or grow your produce on a patio or balcony, then this hack could be well worth your time. As TikTok creator @cooperfarm demonstrates, potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in containers. Planting them in a laundry basket is actually one of the most convenient ways to cultivate these tasty tubers and can lead to a fantastic harvest.

Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are a delicious staple crop and can be amazingly easy to grow. Anyone who has had one of their cooking potatoes start sprouting knows how willing potato plants are to grow from just a single spud. They grow best in a full sun location and require acidic, well-draining soil to thrive. While many people use potatoes from the supermarket as their seed potatoes, if possible, it's best to buy certified seed potatoes intended for growing instead. If you do opt to use grocery store spuds, be sure to presprout them before planting to confirm they will grow. Some potatoes sold for consumption are pretreated with chemicals to keep them from sprouting, so they're not the best option.

How to grow potatoes in a laundry basket

Potatoes grow well in a variety of containers, but one of the major advantages of tall plastic laundry baskets is the sheer number of plants that can be grown in a small space. Filling the basket with lots of layers of compost or potting mix, seed potatoes, and mulch or straw and encouraging potato plants to grow out of the holes in the sides is a great vertical growing strategy. It also makes harvesting a breeze, as the laundry basket simply needs to be dumped over.

There's also a slightly-different method for growing potatoes in laundry baskets that you could follow. Instead of filling the basket up with multiple layers of soil, pieces of seed potatoes, and mulch from the start, you could put in 6 inches of potting soil, the seed potatoes, and then 6 more inches of soil. Then, don't add anything else until the potato plants emerge from the top of the soil. Once the plants start growing, add more compost or potting soil, covering the plants so that only 6 or so inches of foliage is visible. As the plants continue growing throughout the season, continue including more soil to cover part of the stem. This should lead to a massive potato harvest, as it encourages the formation of more rhizomes, which leads to more potatoes.

Tips for growing container potatoes

Laundry baskets are far from the only container you can grow potatoes in. These vegetables are also perfect candidates for grow bags, old buckets or totes with holes drilled in the bottom, or even well-ventilated barrels. Containers aren't just space-effective, as they also have the advantage of being moveable and are easier on your back at harvest time. Once you're ready to harvest, which occurs a couple weeks after the foliage turns brown, pour out the container over a tarp and sift through the dirt to find your produce. 

While potatoes are a great option for container growing, there are some additional things to consider when you're not planting in the ground. Container potatoes often don't grow as big as those grown in fields, so consider planting smaller varieties and harvesting them as young new potatoes. Also, be aware of what types of spuds grow best in your region when picking potato varieties. Plants grown in containers generally require more water than those grown directly in the ground, so be sure to water your container thoroughly when the top 2 inches dry out. Finally, don't forget to fertilize your potatoes regularly with a phosphorus-heavy fertilizer.