By Jennifer Poindexter
Did you know that potatoes make an excellent indoor crop? It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? These plants do have a few specifics which must be met to have an enjoyable growing experience. However, once you provide everything they need, you should be able to grow this plant with little trouble.
If you love potatoes and would like to produce them year-round indoors, here’s everything you should know about this gardening journey.
What You Might Need to Grow Potatoes Indoors
Potatoes are an easy vegetable to grow inside your home. Most people might not think so because they grow beneath the soil and aren’t smaller plants.
However, by supplying your potatoes with a deep enough container, well-draining soil, and lighting, they should thrive under your care.
You’ll need a few items to provide proper growing conditions. The first is a deep container. Consider purchasing a large planter that’s a half foot deep at minimum.
If this is too pricey for you, consider cutting a plastic barrel in half. You’ll need to drill holes in the sides and under it to ensure proper drainage.
You could even use the other side of the barrel to make a drainage tray to sit beneath it. If your home doesn’t receive enough sunlight for your potato plants, you might need supplemental lighting.
Purchase either a grow light or an LED lighting system. Consider how the light will hang above your plants. They could hang from a shelf, or you could purchase a stand-alone option to eliminate the issue all together.
Finally, consider purchasing a timer for your lights. This will eliminate the issue of having to remember when to turn the lights off and on.
By purchasing a few items upfront, it could truly make all the difference in your growing experience when raising potatoes indoors.
Growing Conditions for Potatoes Indoors
It seems most gardeners are looking for plants which produce and are easy to grow. You’ve found these exact qualities when growing potatoes indoors.
To start growing potatoes indoors you’ll need a container and lighting. The container must be a minimum of two gallons and at least a half foot tall.
It’s also important that the container is well-draining. If you don’t have a container that fits these specifications, you can also plant potatoes in a bag of soil.
However, be sure you place drainage holes in the bag. Regardless of what you grow potatoes in, you’ll need to give the plants light.
Potatoes need a minimum of five hours of light per day. If your home doesn’t receive this type of lighting, or you don’t have a good place to set such a large container to receive this much light, use supplemental lighting.
For each hour of sunlight you’re supplementing, the plants will need two hours beneath the grow light. If you can supply quality soil, a well-draining container, and lighting, your potato plants should be off to a great start.
How to Plant Potatoes Indoors
Planting potatoes is an easy undertaking. It’s recommended that you purchase seed potatoes to simplify the process.
Once you have your potatoes, fill your well-draining container a quarter of the way with well-draining, loose soil.
Add your seed potatoes to the soil. Try to keep at least six inches of space between each plant. Ensure the sprouts are facing up. After your potatoes are planted, continue to fill the rest of the container with dirt.
Moisten the soil and keep it consistently damp by misting with a spray bottle. Over time, the plants will begin to sprout. The process can take anywhere from two to four weeks.
As they grow, mound dirt around the plants. This will keep light from reaching the potatoes beneath the soil, and it helps water drain away from the plants to protect them from disease.
You have now successfully planted potatoes. As your plants grow, if they become too crowded, pull the weaker plants to maintain adequate spacing. Raising potatoes indoors is an easy process that can yield a gorgeous harvest, if the plants are cared for properly.
Caring for Potatoes Indoors
Potatoes don’t require much of their gardener. They need to be watered properly, and they require fertilizing. Outside of these items, you shouldn’t need to do much to keep your plants healthy.
When watering potatoes, it’s a good idea to use the deep watering method. It might be hard to fit your planters in your kitchen sink.
Instead, you might want to move the planters to an outdoor space for watering. You could also place them in a shower or bathtub. You’ll apply water to the soil until it’s flowing from beneath the planter.
Stop applying water at this point and allow the containers to drain completely before placing them back in their grow space.
Don’t apply any more water without testing the soil first. Insert your finger into the dirt next to the plant. If the soil is dry to your first knuckle, it needs to be watered again. If not, hold off on watering.
This will help your plants to develop strong roots while also avoiding potential issues, such as rot, which can occur if the potatoes are left in a soggy state on a continual basis.
If you begin to see signs that your plants are lacking nutrients, you might need to apply a fertilizer. When plants become discolored,early in the growing process, this is a sure sign that they need more food.
Apply an all-purpose fertilizer to your potato plants. Be sure to dilute the fertilizer by 50%, and it should be applied sparsely.
The only other item on your “potato care-list” is to continue mounding soil around the base of the plants as they grow. This will keep light from reaching your harvest.
By providing the most basic care to your potato plants, they should thrive. In turn, this should provide you with a generous harvest.
Pests and Diseases Which Might Harm Potatoes Indoors
Potatoes aren’t impacted by many pests or diseases when growing indoors. The only pest which could impact this plant inside is an aphid.
Aphids suck the sap of the foliage of your potato plants. If your plants are discolored, and you see bugs on them, it’s most likely an aphid infestation.
You can get rid of this pest by spraying the plant with soapy water. In addition, you should also treat your plants with an insecticide.
The main disease which impacts potatoes is rot. This is when the plants are growing under conditions which are unusually wet.
This can occur because your container and soil aren’t draining well enough. Rot can also occur because you’re applying too much water to your potatoes.
Avoid this issue by following the deep watering method and making sure that the container and soil, your plant is growing in, drains properly.
Stay alert to these potential risks, and your plants should continue to thrive. Even if you spot issues, it’s important to catch them early to avoid extreme damage to your harvest.
How to Harvest Potatoes
Potatoes should be harvested the same indoors as they are outdoors. As the plants grow, they should become tall and green.
At approximately two to three months, the plants should stop growing. They’ll turn yellow and begin to die off.
This is the time where you’ll pull the plants out of the soil and harvest the potatoes beneath the foliage. Once the potatoes are out of the dirt, allow them to rest in the sun for a day or so.
If it’s extremely cold or damp, place the harvested potatoes under the grow light to dry. Ensure the skins aren’t touching during this part of the process. This should pull moisture out of your harvest.
After the potatoes have dried, they’re ready to be used or stored for later use. Be sure to store potatoes in a cool, dark location.
Root cellars, pantries, and basements are great places to store this vegetable for long-term use. Keep an eye on rot to ensure it doesn’t impact, and spread, throughout your harvest.
It’s wise to place potatoes in a box with layers of straw or sawdust between them to deter rot from forming.
You have now grown potatoes from start to finish. It’s an easy crop to grow indoors, once you have the conditions correct.
By caring for them correctly and staying alert to pests and disease, you’re protecting your harvest. Hopefully this information will supply you with all you need to enjoy fresh potatoes year-round from your indoor garden.