Potatoes are not often grown in backyards as they need a lot of depth to thrive. However, with a bit of planning, you can actually plant them anywhere, including in a raised garden bed.
How to grow potatoes in a raised bed: The first step in growing potatoes in a raised bed is to remove a larger part of the soil. Place your seeding potatoes in this indentation and then cover them with dirt. As the plants grow, use the soil you removed and add it back on top of the plants, leaving the tops of the plants exposed by only a few inches.
Can you plant potatoes in raised garden beds?
There are actually many places where you can grow potatoes and raised garden beds are just one of them. Raised beds are growing in popularity as they allow you to not have to bend over or squat down as you garden, which is much healthier for your back.
If you can, plant potatoes in a raised garden bed that doesn’t have a floor to it. This means that there are four solid sides but the underneath is open to the rest of the ground, which will give potato plants more room for their roots.
How to grow potatoes in raised beds
Select a variety
Even though you may have some old potatoes in your fridge that could technically be planted, it is much better to use local varieties of potatoes. The ones you get from a grocery store could come from anywhere, which means they won’t thrive as much as local potatoes.
There are many different types of potatoes you can use but we suggest going for smaller potatoes, especially if you have limited space in your garden bed. This way you can have more plants and not worry about compacted growing conditions.
Another element to consider is when you want to harvest your potatoes. You can choose from early varieties, which you can harvest in mid-summer, or late varieties, which you can harvest in the fall. Early varieties need to be eaten soon after you harvest while later varieties are better for storage.
Ensure the right growing conditions
Potato plants require full sun, so ensure your raised garden bed is in a location that isn’t blocked by trees or your house. Aim for at least six hours of sunlight.
As for the soil, start with nutrient-rich dirt. You can add in compost to help it get going, as well as bone meal, which is rich in calcium.
Proper drainage is important so when you build your raised garden bed, add a layer of gravel to the bottom and then add in quality topsoil. You don’t want large clumps of soil or clay in your garden.
Prep the potatoes
Once you have your potatoes, you want to prepare them for planting. You don’t want to simply plant the entire potato as this is a waste.
Instead, leave the seedling potatoes in a warm place so they will sprout eyes. You can then cut the potatoes up, as long as there are two eye sprouts on each piece.
The hilling process
Potatoes need to be planted with a hilling process. This is when you bury the potatoes under the soil and then, as they grow, place more soil on top of them.
To achieve this in a raised bed, you will need to move some of the soil around. Dig up the area where you want to plant your potatoes and store this soil for future use in a large container so that you can add it to the potatoes as they grow.
Plant the potatoes in the indented area. After at least a month, the potatoes will start to grow. When the plants are 6 to 8 inches high, add more soil around the plants, covering them so just the top 2 inches are visible.
Then, repeat this process at least one more time, although if you have enough room, doing it twice more will be better.
How many potatoes can I plant in a raised bed?
There are many varieties of potato plants, and all have different sizes of potatoes. It’s best to stick with smaller potatoes as this will ensure there isn’t too much crowding in the garden bed.
Aim for one potato plant for every square foot of space in your raised bed. Remember that potato plants want to spread out underground so even if the tops of the plants look spaced out, there will be a lot of competition for soil space.
What’s the ideal raised bed size for growing potatoes?
The depth of your raised bed will be a large determent of how you grow your potatoes. You want to dig the soil out as much as possible to allow you to engage in the hilling process as the potatoes grow.
However, if you have a raised garden bed that has a wooden floor to it, this means you can’t dig very deep. The best result is if you have soft dirt underneath your raised bed and only attach sides to it so that there is plenty more room for potato roots to move.
How to harvest potatoes from a raised bed?
Growing potatoes in a raised garden bed are the easy part. Harvesting them is the tricky part. This is because all of the goodness is underground.
If you have a raised bed with a side you can detach, this will make the experience much easier. Simply remove a wall and gently sift through the soil as you collect potatoes.
If your raised bed doesn’t come apart, you will need to dig through the soil to find your potatoes. Just be careful as you don’t want to accidentally damage the potatoes with the sharp side of the shovel. If the soil is loose enough, use your hands to sift through and harvest the potatoes.
The success of growing potatoes depends on adding soil over the top of the plants as they grow. To do this in a raised garden bed, start with a deep hole and then use the dug-up soil to cover the plants as they grow.