How to Grow Potatoes in a Trash Can

How to Grow Potatoes in a Trash Can

If you've never dug for potatoes, you don't know what you're missing. Finding spuds hiding in dirt is sort of like uncovering buried treasure. That is until your garden fork impales one of the darlings.

Generally speaking, a potato patch involves a good amount of garden space, which means patio and balcony crops are out of the question, right? Nope. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, you can grow potatoes in a garbage can, or any large container, for that matter.

To try this method, the Almanac says to find a garbage can (plastic or otherwise), a barrel, a wooden box or any other container that is at least 18 inches deep.

Punch or drill holes in the bottom of your planter of choice for good drainage.

Put 6 inches of soil into the container.

Place the seedling potatoes on the soil and cover with 3 inches of soil or mulch.

When leaves start to sprout and plantings reach 6 to 8 inches in height, add another layer of soil. As the plants grow higher, you keep adding soil, making a hill of sorts.

When the potatoes are ready to harvest, all you have to do is turn the planter on it's side and shake out the spuds, which means no potato impalements.



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Kat on Mar 18, 2011:

How do you know when the potatoes are ready? This sounds fun. I think I may try this in some half-barrels.

Vegetable Herb Garden on Feb 01, 2010:


While you may need a deeper pot for cucumbers, a trash can is way too much.  Cucumbers just don't root that deeply to need a trash can.  A slightly bigger pot may help, but good soil, full of lots of compost, and organic fertilizer (the first number, nitrogen, should be lower than the other two numbers, for example 5-10-10), will help more.  Also, a trellis, keeping those cucumbers off the ground, will increase health and yield.

Uncle B on Sep 19, 2009:

Did this! You gotta be crefulo! Pick the wrong type of potato and you get little! Try using Russetts, Yellow Finn, and Binjte! Early varieties set fruit only once and do no do well in towers, buckets tire piles etc! Good Luck!

DIY Maven on Mar 18, 2009:

kathc--I hate that when that happens...not saving links, I mean!

kathc on Mar 18, 2009:

You have been reading my mind! My mother and I just had a conversation yesterday (of course on St. Pat's Day) about growing potatoes and I mentioned this method. I had seen this a few years ago and didn't save the link, although I was intrigued and never forgot about it.  I wanted to look it up and possibly try it this summer.  Thanks for doing the legwork for me!

DesigningMom on Mar 17, 2009:

We have a bunny habitat in our back acre so if we didn't plant on our deck (there's no stairs down to the yard) they'd have a feast and we'd have the famine.

DIY Maven on Mar 17, 2009:

You're welcome, DM. I think I just might give it a go myself. For us, the big garden just doesn't work well. It's either feast or famine. Meaning either string beans or weeds up the yahoo.

DesigningMom on Mar 17, 2009:

Oh I want to do this! I never thought about using a trash can. We've grown organic peppers and tomatoes on our back deck for a couple years now. We have plenty of land, but this is so much more handy. We just walk out and grab the fresh veggies just before we prepare them to eat. Tried cucumbers but only got one little one. I'm pretty sure it was the size of the container. It probably needs more root space. Maybe a trash can will work for them too. Thanks so much Maven!

~Becky <><

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