Learn how to build a potato grow box and grow up to one hundred pounds of potatoes in just four square feet – an easy project for beginners!
Potatoes are one of the best plants to grow, especially because they are so stinkin’ easy! While they might seem like the kind of plant you need a huge garden for, they really aren’t that picky at all. Potato tubers are quite easily grown in almost any yard with the right “space”.
Because I live in town and my backyard isn’t as large as I’d really love it to be, I’m a big fan of growing things in small spaces.
DIY – Build a Potato Grow Box
Learning how to build a potato growing box can put you ahead of the game with your potatoes. Each potato grow box can yield up to 100 lbs of potatoes in just 4 small, square feet. By planting your potatoes in layers in a small (yet tall) box, you are basically building them to grow like a high rise.
Wait until they are fully mature to harvest them (early fall) or, unscrew the board(s) off the bottom and harvest the mature potatoes early.
- 2 – 2x4x12
- 4 – 1x6x12 Deck Boards (thin)
- 1 box of 3″ outdoor deck screws (should come with the drill bit) ~ $10 at Lowe’s or Home Depot
- inexpensive garden hose ($7 – $10)
- garden hose end cap (~ $2.50)
- 3/4″ rebar or scrap rebar
If you buy your wood at the Home Depot or Lowe’s, they will cut it for you at no charge. Make sure you avoid pressure treated wood.
Cut the 1x6x12 Deck Boards to make 24 boards, 23.5″ in length
Cut the 2x4x12 Boards to make 8 boards, 33″ in length
Attach the 2×4’s together to make support posts. Arrange them so that the side of one 2×4 overlaps the other, making an “L” shape. If you have wood clamps, that will help – but it is not necessary.
Use your deck screws to attach the pieces together – 4 screws should be enough. Repeat that step 3 more times until you have 4 support posts.
Attach your side pieces to the posts, making sure the butt joint is lined up as best as possible. Use 2 wood deck screws on each side of the board when attaching to the post.
Repeat this several times, until the boards are 5 high on the back of the box, and 2 high on the front.
On one of the side pieces, drill a hole 12″ from the side and 2″ from the bottom. It should be large enough to fit a hose.
Moving onto the garden hose. Starting at the discharge end of the hose, drill 1/16 holes randomly on all sides of the hose, going up 32″. Don’t drill the holes any closer than 1″ of each other.
Drag the potato box to the location you will likely place it. Set it down and make sure the smaller sides (with 2 boards) are facing the sun.
Place a piece of scrap rebar into the ground in the center of the potato box. Take the discharge end of the hose and run it through the hole through the base of the box. Only pull through as much hose as you need. Place the discharge end cap on the end of the hose.
Secure the top and bottom of the hose to the rebar with zip ties or duct tape. Add some dirt to your potato box. The dirt should be even with the 2nd highest board.
Place your seed potatoes in the box – with the sprout/eye facing up. Make sure the potatoes are 4-5″ apart. Cover with 1″ of soil. Then completely saturate the soil by turning on the water (attach the hose to your potato hose!)
Once saturated, water your potato box every 2-3 days. When the vines have started to sprout and poke out, then add additional boards to your box, fill with more dirt (up to the top of that board) and plant another layer of potatoes. Continue this until you have planted upwards the entire height of the box.
Your potatoes will grow upwards and flower as time progresses. Once the flowers die off, in early fall, you can harvest your potatoes by removing the bottom boards.
Always store your potatoes in a cool, dry area away from sunlight.