Kids Go Gardening - buckets of spuds

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Digging potatoes from your own garden is exciting and they’re surely the most delicious potatoes you’ve ever tasted!  No dirt to dig? No worries - potatoes are easy to grow in containers!

You will need:

  1. A bucket, a bag or a barrel; any container will do, as long as the water can get out the bottom. If you choose to plant in a bucket, drill plenty of drainage holes.
  2. Seed potatoes from your garden centre. Choose early crop varieties (such as Rocket, and Cliff’s Kidney) will be ready before Christmas.
  3. Planting mix or compost.

Here's how:

  1. Find a sunny, sheltered, frost-free spot for your container.
  2. Add some planting mix, up to about 10cm deep.
  3. Place your seed potatoes on top. Two or three seed potatoes enough for a bucket. Cover with more planting mix (10cm deep) and water with a watering can.
  4. Water enough to keep the mix just moist, not soaking wet or your potatoes will rot!
  5. When the plants reach 15cm high, add some more potting mix, leaving about 5cm of the plants uncovered. Repeat this until the container is full.
  6. When the leaves start to turn yellow your potatoes are ready for harvest. Tip the container up-side down and count your treasure!

If you feed your potato plants they’ll reward you with a bumper crop at harvest.  When they are growing in containers potatoes like to be fed once a month until flowering time.

Did you know?

Potatoes have eyes! Actually these ‘eyes’ are little buds that grow into roots branches and leaves.  A potato is actually a special kind of underground stem called a ‘tuber’. One tuber will grow lots of new tubers. From one ‘seed’ potato, you can grow enough for a whole family dinner!

Potato plants are burnt by frost. Unless you live in a warm climate like Auckland, it’s best not to plant potatoes in the ground until July or August. But you can still plant them in containers kept in a sheltered place. Or for fun, keep them in a dry dark place indoors and watch them sprout little shoots before you plant them outdoors.

What’s your favourite spud?

Did you know not every potato is the same? They have different tastes and textures. Some grow super fast. Other varieties are ‘good keepers’ so you can save them to eat a long time after you dig them from the ground.  You might pick a variety with a name you like the sound of; like ‘Rocket’ or ‘Swift’. ‘Early’ potato varieties are ready to dig less than 3 months after you plant them.

Science Pro

Design an experiment to find out what kind of soil or plant food grows the most potatoes. For example, plant the same number of seed potatoes in the same sized bags. Then feed each bag with different fertilisers. Be sure to include one bag that has no fertiliser and don’t forget to label them! Weigh your crops after harvest to get your results.

Look for these products, tips and advice at a Go Gardening Store near you.



Spuds in a recycling tub

Home grown crop of potatoes