Recycle Nursery Pots, Grow Potatoes

May 28th, 2009

What do you do with the big mammajamma containers that trees or large shrubs are delivered in from the nursery? Well you could recycle them if they’re made of #2 plastic, but many are made of #5 or something and unable to be recycled (at least at our recycling center) and in anycase reuse is better than recycling.

When you buy potato sets (aka seed potatoes) you get a whole bunch. More than what most home gardeners need. You can plant some in trash cans, I do, but I plant the left overs in this nursery pots and it works. The dark plastic of the pots absorbs heat and helps them grow. You put about 4 inches of compost or potting mix in the pots, add your potato sets (4 or 5), cover, and as the potatoes grow keep adding soil each time they peak out, this “hilling up” allows the potato to hopefully form more spuds along the stem.

Then, to harvest, you just dump out the pot, no need to worry about accidentially wounding a spud with your shovel.

This year I’m growing “All Blue” potatoes, they’re purple in color and have some of the same antioxidants as blueberries. They taste the same as others, but are better for you.

4 Responses to “Recycle Nursery Pots, Grow Potatoes”

  1. Rose  Says:

    Question: Can you plant potatoes from the supermarket or do they have to be seed potatoes?

  2. Administrator  Says:

    … sometimes.

    You deal with two issues.

    1. Supermarket potatoes have often been treated with something to surpress sprouting. Ergo, they’ll not grow or grow slowly. If you half older ones that have sprouted in your cupboard (by sprout I mean the eyes have grown out) by all means you could plant it and it’ll grow, even cut it into pieces so each one has an eye and plant them.

    2. Potatoes are notorious for disease. You shouldn’t plant them in the same soil two years in a row (a three year rotation is recommended) and supermarket potatoes may harbor these diseases as well. Not all of them are bad, some will just result in less visually appealing potato skin. Seed potatoes are “certified” disease free usually.

    Last year I couldn’t find a source for blue potatoes so I grew one I bought from the supermarket (in a mixed bag of different colored “jewel” potatoes). It grew fine (after a long delay during which I had given up on it) and I got some spuds out of it. So it worked for me, and it can work for you.

    Sweet potatoes can be planted like that too, though remember, sweet potatoes are not at all botanically related to potatoes. Completely different plant.

  3. Josh Baltzell  Says:

    I’m growing potatoes in containers this year too, but I had not thought about smaller containers. I will have to try some specialty varieties in containers like this next year.

    Thanks for the idea.

  4. Lauren  Says:

    What a neat idea! I’m adding to my stockpile of experiments for next year. Thanks for sharing!

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