growing-potatoes-indoors

How to Grow Potatoes Indoors

While most gardeners would probably not think of growing potatoes indoors, it's a workable solution if you have limited garden space. It's also a way to grow your own seed potatoes in a disease-free environment for later planting outdoors. The key is providing the right conditions, starting with adequate light.

Getting Set Up

Potatoes normally need full sun. If you want to grow them indoors, you’re probably going to need grow lights, unless you’re growing in a greenhouse or sun room. Full spectrum lights are necessary for best growth. Place the potatoes as close to the lights as you can. Hanging fluorescent lights from adjustable chains allows you to move the lights up or down as necessary.

Choosing the Containers

You can grow potatoes in any kind of container as long as it has good drainage. Ideally, the container should be at least two feet deep. Plastic and glazed ceramic pots help retain moisture, while unglazed pots promote evaporation. Make sure the pot drains well. Potatoes like moist soil but if the soil is constantly soggy, it increases the risk of rot.

Potato Varieties

Any kind of potato can be grown indoors. Many heirloom varieties are not grown commercially for a number of reasons. You might want to try less common or unusual varieties, such as:

  • Alby’s Gold
  • Anna Cheeka’s Ozette
  • Black Russian
  • German Butterball
  • La Ratte
  • Purple Viking
  • White Mountain.

Soil and Fertilizer

Potatoes need rich, fertile soil to grow well. Commercial potting soil mixed with coarse sand is a good choice, especially if you have concerns about soil-borne disease. Add a little wood ash or peat moss for the extra acidity potatoes prefer. Use a balanced fertilizer such as an organic liquid or granules with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10. Feed every two or three weeks.

Planting the Containers

Place eight to 12 inches of soil in the container. Water well and allow to drain completely. Small potatoes can be planted whole. Larger potatoes are better cut in half or thirds and allowed to dry for a few days before planting. Many gardeners sprout their potatoes ahead of planting, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. Place potatoes on the soil and cover six inches deep.

Growing On

In the garden, you would plant your potatoes in a hole or trench and hill them – cover them with soil – at least twice as they grow. Once your container plants are six inches high, cover with soil until three-quarters buried. Repeat when the potatoes have reached six inches again. With a deep container, you can hill a third time. This provides space for the potato tubers to develop. Harvest by turning them out of the container.