How to Grow Potatoes in a Cage

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How to Grow Potatoes in a Cage

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.

Seed Potatoes

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.

Seed Potatoes Cut into Pieces

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. This will keep them from rotting when you bury them.

Potato Cage

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.

Line Potato Cages With Wet Newspaper

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 Seed Potatoes in Cage

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.

Potatoes Covered With Soil

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.

Sprouted Seed Potatoes

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 two to three weeks 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.

When to Plant Potatoes

Wait until after the last frost to plant your potatoes. If you plan to store your potatoes long-term (and you live somewhere with a long growing season), consider waiting until mid-June to plant your potatoes.

Companion Plants for Potatoes

To Deter Pests, Place Your Potato Cages Near …

  • Beans, catnip, coriander, horseradish or nasturtium (they’ll repel Colorado potato beetle)
  • Marigolds (they’ll repel nematodes)

Do Not Plant Your Potatoes Near …

  • Cucumbers, raspberries, squash, sunflowers or tomatoes (they’ll increase the chance of potato blight)

How Many Potatoes Should I Plant?

Under optimal growing conditions (good soil, plenty of water, few pests), you can expect to get eight to ten times what you planted. So, if you plant five pounds, you might get 40-50 pounds of potatoes. According to the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, the average American eats 110 lbs of potatoes each year (but that includes chips).

More Planting Guides:

How to Plant Onions
How to Plant Garlic
How to Plant Asparagus
How to Plant Strawberries
How to Plant Tomatoes
How to Plant Peppers

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    1. Hi Diane, You usually get 10 times what you plant, so that would be 40 potatoes per cage. But the interesting thing about caging them is that you typically get larger than normal yields, so it will likely be even more than that. I’ll post our harvest count and weight when the time comes.

    1. Hi Judy, I use metal trash cans. That’s actually what I grow my peppers in, too. I just picked up a couple potato grow bags at a flea market last weekend, so I’ll be experimenting with those, as well.

      1. I have used empty feed bags for this too. Glad to have found your blog I used to read you on about.com then life got too busy and I couldn’t remember your last name, but happy to read you again!

  1. This is the first time I’ve ever seen this method! I’ve grown potatoes in containers with limited success and I’m trying them in black plastic garbage bags this year. But I will definitely try the cage method next year. Two questions: Do you keep adding newspaper to the sides as you fill each layer? And do you normally put the seed potatoes on the paper rather than starting with soil? Thanks!!

    1. I typically use leaves to cover the tops, after that first layer of soil. When I do that, I don’t add additional newspaper to the sides. This year, I’m using soil, so I probably will add newspaper to the sides as I go. And yep, I lay the seed potatoes on the newspaper. Then, cover them with soil. I haven’t tried them with a layer of soil first. Might be an interesting side-by-side experiment for next year. I plan to weigh my harvest. I’ll add that to the post at harvest time. I have another method that I want to try next year, so perhaps a side-by-side harvest comparison for a bunch of potato growing methods is in order 🙂

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