One of the biggest joys in life is being able to grow plants and vegetables. But not everyone has the space outside to be able to grow something in a big plot or tract of land. This doesn’t mean that you can’t grow some amazing vegetables in your apartment or condo though!
As long as you have the right few pieces of equipment, and know what your plants want, you can have JUST as much fun growing vegetables in your apartment as you would outside.
Potatoes are one of those vegetables that are so diverse in their uses that virtually everyone uses or eats them on a regular basis. And here is a little secret, “potatoes aren’t that hard to grow”. The joy of pulling those potatoes out of your pot at the end is unlike any other vegetable experience. It feels like you are digging for buried treasure!
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I’m going to walk you through a basic guide on how to grow potatoes in your apartment, give you some quick and easy help on lighting and planters, so you can get the most out of your growing experience!
If you want a more detailed guide on growing potatoes we highly recommend our favorite book: How To Grow Potatoes: The Guide To Choosing, Planting and Growing in Containers Or the Ground by Jason Johns (Amazon Link)
Can You Grow Potatoes In Your Apartment?
Yes, you can grow potatoes in your apartment using some form of a planter or large bucket for your potatoes, and an adequate light source such as consistent daytime sun from a window or ledge, or a grow light.
Potatoes can be grown in just about any container that is deep enough that they can make their tubers. It doesn’t have to be the biggest pot in the world, just one that is right for the potatoes to grow.
As they are, potatoes are some pretty resilient vegetables and have traditionally grown in climates that not a ton of other vegetables can grow in, so you are going to get a little bit of leeway with them. Not doing everything perfectly isn’t going to ruin your crop, as it will with some other vegetables that are more sensitive.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you are more than likely going to get the most sun from your south-facing windows. And that’s the case nearly year-round. As long as the plant has enough light, warmth, and water, you can grow them whenever you want.
Can You Grow Potatoes Indoors All Year Round?
You can grow potatoes year-round as long as your plants have enough light, either from a south-facing window, or from a grow light. Obviously, you don’t want them to freeze, but as long as they have sun and water inside, you can grow potatoes year-round!
Do Potatoes Need Full Sun Or Shade?
As a rule, potato plants need full sun to maximize their fruit and vegetable processes once you start growing them.
We have several solutions for you on this matter.
The first is to ensure that you have the right Planters To Grow your Potatoes in… which we have several AMAZING solutions for you.
For example, Potato Grow Bags, which are sold for around $20 dollars is all you really need to get started growing potatoes in your own apartment or condo.
The second thing you need to be concerned about is the amount of light that the plant is getting naturally. If your plant is NOT getting the appropriate amount of sunlight for your potatoes, they are not going to do as well as they could do, which is what I’m going to walk you through in this article right here.
Potatoes grow better in full sun.
As a rule, potato plants do better the more sun they get. That means that as much light as you can give them in your apartment, the better. Also, having a grow-light installed for the low light conditions of the winter can be very important.
Because plants use photosynthesis to make their food, light is an important part of what it takes to make plants grow and thrive. While a grow light may not be necessary for the apartment you live in just due to how it situates in relation to the sun, many people may end up utilizing a Grow Light of some sort to help their plants maintain the light needed to grow.
However, if you have an apartment that gets enough light during the day, and you live in a climate warm enough to keep them outside most of the year, you may be able to get away with not having to get a Grow Light. However, if you don’t, no problem, I’ve written a guide specifically for this on which lights you should be using to grow plants and vegetables inside your apartment here’s a link to that article: Indoor Lights For Plants In My Apartment
How Much Space Do You Need To Grow Potatoes?
Planting potatoes inside is going to be quite different than if you plant them outside. The University of Nebraska recommends to ‘Plant your whole or cut seed potatoes two to three inches deep in the soil’. While great advice for planting outdoors, you probably aren’t going to have that amount of room in your apartment or condo, even if they stay on your porch or balcony all year long.
How many potatoes you can plant is going to depend on your pot size. Place a few seed potatoes with active eyes several inches deep in the soil, avoiding having them touch the edge of the pot, and cover them with a few inches of soil.
When you are growing potatoes inside, you are going to, by necessity, going to have to plant them closer together than you otherwise would outside.
The way I plant potatoes when I am growing them in a pot is I cut the seed potato into as many different “eye” pieces as I can. But I STILL make sure that there is some potato left on the eye so that it has the nutrients and base to start from.
Then I place maybe 3 or 4 of the “eyes”, potato side down, in the pot about halfway from the bottom of the pot to the top. Then, I cover them with soil so they are buried about 3 inches down. This is to make sure that the plant DOESN’T get any light at the beginning, which is important for potato plants. They like the cool dark environment when they are sprouting.
Then, once they pop up through the soil, I gradually add more soil as the plant gets bigger. This is called “mounding”, and while not COMPLETELY necessary, you will have a better outcome come harvest time if you do. There are plenty of articles on why you should mound your potato plants, but I’m just here to tell you how to do it, if you want to look up the ‘why’, no problem!
Most of the planters you are going to find at the store are going to be around the 10-Gallon size. This is the most common size used, big enough so that you can actually GROW things in it, but small enough you can move them around as necessary.
These planters work EXCEPTIONALLY well, and they aren’t even made of hard plastic! They are made out of felt and while this may sound like some ‘as seen on TV’ type of thing, these things actually work GREAT!!
These Potato Grow Bags are PERFECT for growing potatoes inside your apartment, or on your balcony or deck! It even has a flap on the side where you can look and see how they are doing.
Because the bag is made of woven fibers, the roots grow easier and don’t become wrapped around the outside of the container like you would see with plants you buy from the store to replant. The fiber felt allows the roots to breathe, expand, and acts more like the natural environment that potatoes are used to growing in.
And if you are done using them at the end of the season and want to bring your bag inside, you can do it, as they can fold up and be easily stored. The design ALSO makes it great if you want to start a few plants for someone else and give the entire thing as a gift!!
There are only 3 things you need to get going:
I personally have found that this Miracle-Gro works as well as any soil mix I’ve ever tried. And the great thing is that it is made SPECIFICALLY to grow vegetables and flowers in a container. This soil was literally made for this use. It is 100% organic, so you don’t have to worry about a bunch of chemicals in the soil, and is formulated to grow vegetables in confined areas.
PERFECT for growing potatoes in your apartment or condo!
You are going to need Seed Potatoes to start growing potatoes. Note that “Seed Potatoes” are NOT “Seeds OF Potatoes”. You are actually planting part of the potato that has started to sprout. So make SURE you are buying the right thing when you look online.
Now, if you want, you can make your OWN seed potatoes, it’s not that hard, and it’s the method that I do virtually every year. And you can find that process HERE.
Finally, you are going to need something to plant your Potatoes in.
Again, I like THESE because they are a little bit more heavy-duty, and they don’t cost much at all. You can get two of these bags for about $12.
If you want a 10-gallon option instead of 7 gallon, then these are almost identical, and you get 4 planters for around $20 bucks. That’s not bad at all. And both of these products work in the exact same way, it’s all about how many you want, how big you want, etc.
The felt ones I talked about above are also a great way to go!
Can You Grow Potatoes Under A Grow Light?
You can grow potatoes under a grow light as long as the color spectrum is correct for the plant to grow.
Again, if you want the entire Guide To Grow Lights for your apartment or condo, I have written the whole thing HERE.
If you are looking for a simple, straight-up recommendation of light to use for your potatoes, whether you are dealing with winter or just not enough sun, Apartment School can recommend these couple of options for you.
First, is this dimmable Grow Light from EZORKAS, and it is one of the most versatile lights for the money. It allows you to put different kinds of light that your plant needs throughout every step of its growing cycle.
You can clip the light onto a shelf or cabinet or just sit it on the floor. The other great feature of this light for the price is that it comes with a timer on it. So if you want to set the light to function at night, or when you are off to work, that is easily done with the control device that is attached to the light.
If you want something you can simply screw into a fixture that you already have, THESE bulbs give full plant spectrum and are what you can use in places you can screw a bulb into.
The only thing you want to keep in mind is how much light your plants are GOING to need. Which is why it is a good thing that these come in packs of 4, so if you have places to put them in, you can make several bulbs in your apartment or condo Full Spectrum and be set.
These bulbs are perfect for the wintertime when your plants are getting some natural light from outside, but you need to supplement it a bit with some bulb light. 4 of these bulbs cost around $17 bucks, which again, is a cost-effective solution.
When Should I Harvest My Potatoes?
You should harvest your potatoes about 2-3 weeks after the stalk and leaves have turned yellow.
With some of the planting options I gave you above, there is that nifty little flap that you can use to check and see how your potatoes are doing in real-time. But even if you can’t see them, all you need to do is gently dig down a few inches to see how big the potatoes are.
Some will be smaller and some will be bigger, it all depends on what variety you planted, and how big you are letting them grow. But if you dig down and they aren’t quite ready to harvest yet, simply cover them with dirt and let them be for a few weeks to finish growing.
Once you do that, you either have a perfectly good crop of seed potatoes to grow your next batch or some tasty tubers you can bake, boil, or fry up whenever you want!
Simply because you don’t own a field or big garden doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy growing vegetables. Grab a few planters, some soil, and some seed potatoes, and you will be on your way to growing potatoes right on your own porch or balcony!
Get Growing! 🙂