I have a small yard, so I’m always looking for ways to squeeze in as many plants as possible. Growing my potatoes in cages is one of the ways that I do that. With this method, I can grow a crop of potatoes in as little as two square feet, and I don’t have to do any digging either. But the real icing on the cake? I actually end up with more potatoes by growing them this way.
Want to try it out for yourself? Here’s how to grow potatoes in a cage.
Start with a bag of seed potatoes (don’t use potatoes from the grocery store; they’ve probably been sprayed with growth inhibitors. You can order seed potatoes from a garden catalog, or pick them up locally from a garden center, or Co-op store.
Then, cut your seed potatoes up into pieces, with at least two eyes per piece. Allow them to sit for a day or two, so they skin over before you plant them.
Form cages for your potatoes out of wire mesh or stiff plastic netting. Whichever you choose, you’ll need a piece that’s five-feet long and at least three-feet tall for each cage that you plan to make.
Once you’ve rounded up your materials, simply form the mesh into a two-foot wide circle, and bend the ends together to hold the shape.
Position your cage(s) where you want them. Stake them down, if you live in a windy area. Then, line the bottom and the first few inches of the sides in wet newspaper. This will help to keep the soil in.
Place your potatoes in the bottom of the cage. Four potato pieces per cage is about right. I used extra-large cages this time, so I placed six potato pieces in mine.
Cover the potatoes with soil. Three inches is pretty typical, but consult the instructions that came with your potatoes. Finish by giving them a good watering.
Continue watering your plants regularly, and deeply. They need about an inch of water each week.
Add more material as they grow. Watch for the potato plants to break through the surface and extend about six inches. Then, add a couple inches of soil, leaves or straw. Continue adding material for the next month.
Harvest your potatoes after they’ve flowered, if you want new potatoes; or two to three weeks after the tops have died back, if you want fully mature potatoes. To harvest, simply lift the cage off, and the potatoes will fall out.
More Ways to Grow Potatoes
Potatoes also do beautifully in trash cans (just add drainage holes), and containers that are at least two feet deep. Look around your garage, and see what you have that will work.