Growing [Sweet] Potatoes in a Laundry Basket


I found these two awesome articles on Pinterest, and I think that I am going to try to combine them and grow sweet potatoes in my microgarden.

The first article was from vegetablegardener.com about growing potatoes in a laundry basket to make harvesting easier. The second was from Theoutlawgarden.com and was about how to grow your own sweet potatoes.

“I bought the laundry baskets at a local dollar store (I have 2 baskets).  I filled the baskets with about 2″ of soil & compost, then put a seed potato into each basket (each potato was cut into about 3 pieces with 2-3 eyes each).  I then covered the potato with soil, and have been gradually filling the baskets with soil as the potatoes grow, simulating “hilling” the potatoes in a garden.  The garden center that recommended this method to me said each basket should yield 8-10 lbs of potatoes.  So far, so good! It’s been fun with our kids too, because the potatoes are growing out of the holes in the sides of the baskets. Be sure to keep the baskets watered well – it takes some patience (ie – slow watering) to not have all the water run out the sides of the basket.” –Vegetable Gardener.com

“You may not know this, but sweet potatoes and potato potatoes are nothing alike. Sure, they are both tasty treats that grow underground. But, that’s where the similarities end.

Sweet potatoes are related to morning glories, which explains their cheerful purple flowers and their rambling vines.

But, those trusty Irish spuds? They belong to the tomato family, and are cousins to peppers, tomatillos and eggplants — the nightshades. Sweet potatoes like the heat. They need the heat. Potato potatoes? Well, they thrived in Ireland (until they didn’t). Heat is not something they really appreciate. Cool and moist suits them just fine. This is why we plant our spuds in the early spring, and wait until the real heat sets in to introduce the sweets to the garden.

Here, in northern Virginia (USDA Zone 7a), we can plant our regular potatoes in March. But, the sweet potatoes should wait until early to mid June. No risk of frost, and plenty of promise for heat. Just what those tropical vines desire. And, while we can harvest early potatoes by mid-June, we won’t be digging up the sweet potatoes for months. If you want a nice full harvest, you really need to give your sweets 100 days (or more) of serious growing time.

If we don’t plant the sweets until June, why am I writing about them in April? Well, because, if we want sweet potato seedlings in June, we need to start our sweet potato slips in April. Or, thereabouts.” –Outlawgarden.com

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