A good drainage system is essential. If at all possible, make sure your plant containers have drainage holes. If the container you’re using doesn’t have drainage holes at the bottom (and you can’t safely create them), put an inch or two of stones and gravel down at the bottom. Water sparingly and avoid oversaturating the soil.

When filled with damp soil, large pots can become extremely heavy. Before you fill your pot, make sure you have a place for it. Consider heavy-duty rolling plant stands as an alternative. Keep in mind that potatoes grow best in full sun. Consider that tipping over the pot, the preferred method of harvest can leave a big mess on your freshly finished deck.

Aside from garden pots, there are a variety of plant containers that can be used to grow crops. The chicken fence plant tower is a simple and efficient method of growing crops, especially when the straw is used. The design can be as simple as driving four snow-fence posts at the four corners of a square, then tightly wrapping the fencing around the poles. Ingenious backyard gardeners create potato towers out of chicken wire or another wire fencing. Wooden palettes that have been repurposed can also be used to build potato-growing bins.

Outdoor shades or screens made of bamboo or other reeds can also be used to construct towers. These screens are typically wide, and when turned on their sides, they can provide a significant amount of much-needed depth. Roll them into the desired size lengthwise (doing it around a right-sized pile of straw or loosely around a barrel can make it easier). Bind the top, middle, and bottom with hemp twine.

Standing compost plant containers, such as the GEOBIN, are ideal for growing it. Commercial wooden planters (often requiring assembly) with doors near the bottom for potato harvesting are available. Potatoes have been successfully grown in containers ranging from five-gallon buckets to plastic laundry bins. Wooden bushel barrels work well as well. Using your imagination can be beneficial.

Patio gardeners are becoming more interested in galvanized steel cans and containers. We’ve also seen amazing photos of sweet potato vines growing from shiny metal trash cans. However, we’ve also heard that metal containers should be avoided.

Galvanized containers have long been used to supply water to humans and livestock. Plant containers are galvanized with zinc and, in some cases, cadmium, which should not leach under most normal conditions (“most” because acidic soils may promote corrosion). For landscape growing, the safety of new galvanized containers is widely accepted; for food crops, it is less so. Some advocate lining galvanized containers with plastic, but this appears to be a case of substituting one problem for another. If you plan to recycle older cans, avoid those with rust or other damage or that have been used to dispose of pesticides, household cleaners, motor oil, and other lubricant containers, or other toxic products.

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