Harvesting my Red Potatoes | Garbage Can Method

Harvesting Red Potatoes using the Garbage Can Method

This was my first time ever growing potatoes and I chose to try to grow them using the garbage can method.  I have been waiting all summer long, wondering just how many potatoes would be growing in there. I had heard some people were able to get 25 lbs of potatoes from just a few potato seeds.

I planted around 5 little red potato seeds. And then added dirt as the plants grew upwards.

Here is the video of me harvesting the potatoes. Hope you enjoy!

If you can’t see the video – just click here to watch it.


Harvesting Red Potatoes using the Garbage Can Method

I got 10.8 lbs. of potatoes..say what?

Yeah, it wasn’t 25 lbs like I had read online.

Maybe I was supposed to wait a while longer to let the potatoes keep growing. I did read that you are supposed to wait until ALL the plant tops die down, not just one of them. Oops! I tell you, I didn’t want to wait any more though. I just wanted to hold those potatoes in my little hands. Patience..yeah, I need more patience.

It was a lot of fun to harvest them though.

How To Harvest Red Potatoes in a Garbage Can

Lay out a nice big tarp, then dump the garbage can full of potatoes on the tarp.

Sort and dig until you have found all your potatoes. Rinse them off gently and harden them for a day before storing.

To harden off your potatoes just layer them in a dry place for a day or so. Then store them in a dark cool place.

Harvesting Red Potatoes using the Garbage Can Method

If I would have gotten 25 lbs. of potatoes I might have created some sort of storing device (I hear newspaper shreds are a great way to store them). But instead I will be keeping them in my pantry to use up in the next few months.

Was it worth the cost and time?

I think I paid like $3 for my seed potatoes and spent $5 on a bag of soil (since I live in the city and don’t have a ton of extra soil just sitting around). I spent $8 for my 10 lbs of organic potatoes. Now one thing to consider is that potatoes are usually one of the products that you should buy organic because of the amount of pesticides in them – aka part of the dirty dozen. You can usually buy organic potatoes for around $1.00 per pound, so for pesticide free it was worth the cost. But if you are not into organics then you can buy non-organic potatoes for less.

So what do you think?  For those of you who have planted potatoes in a garden, are the yields usually more than this for 5 seeds? Should I try to grow potatoes in the garden instead next year? 14 Comments

Harvesting my Red Potatoes | Garbage Can Method was last modified: February 10th, 2014 by Karrie

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  1. Your price estimate leaves out one important detail…if you had waited longer you would have gotten more so the value for the work goes up. Totally worth it! I want to do this with peruvian purple potatoes! They are hard to find in my area expensive and yummy! I pay close to $4 per pound when i can find them at all. Now to figure out how fussy my complex will get over a huge trash can o’ potato…

    • So true Barbi, next time I will try to be more patient for sure to see if I would have gotten more. Oooh…purple potatoes, those sound really yummy! I have also heard of people using a big rubbermaid tote as well to grow them in, so if you didn’t want something really tall you could try that. Good luck!

  2. I’m really interested in trying this, but I was wondering about potential “contamination” from the plastic garbage can/bin – like BPA, etc. What do you think?


  3. Where did you buy your seeds? Can’t you just let one of your favorite potatoes sprout and cut it in chunks and plant? This city girl is totally clueless! I have also heard of growing them in straw.

    • I bought the seed potatoes because I didn’t have any on hand at that time. I think you can just use your own you have around.

      • You need to be careful about using store bought potatoes to grow from. Some of them are irradiated so that they won’t sprout. You can use the potatoes that you have grown to grow more but generally store bought potatoes won’t do the job.

  4. I got such a chuckle out of seeing your chickens coming to help. 🙂

  5. Helen Bea says:

    I think that if you use organic potatoes you can just cut them up and plant them. Conventionally grown potatoes probably don’t work because they may have been treated with a chemical that keep them from sprouting. I just love your chickens!

  6. So cool! I’ve wanted to try this method for a long time. I’ve used store-bought organic potatoes to plant before, and it worked. I had a few potatoes in the back of my pantry I forgot about that had grown eyes, so I cut the potato into chunks, allowing one eye per chunk. I let them dry overnight or so, and then plant them. I did this a few years ago and got 8 potato plants that all grew around a dozen potatoes. I got antsy too and harvested too soon too though!! But what a joy to grow food like that!

  7. Rhoda Edwards says:

    Hi there! thank you for your tips on drying herbs I am just about to dry some and this comes in handy. I will use the clothes hanger method. The potatoes in garbage bin is a real winner I am now trying to source some seeds to do like wise. your site is very informative and you recipes easy to follow. Thank you once again. Blessings!

  8. Helen Hoke says:

    I do this with my potatoes but instead of the tubs or bins, I recycle the cat, dog and chicken bags. I fold down the tops and punch tiny holes so the water can run out. I put a layer of dirt in with about 3 potato eyes per bag. As the plants grow, I unfold the bag and add dirt around the plants. I do this about once a week. I line up my bags along my fence line out of the way of mowing so I don’t have to lift them all summer. They can get heavy. When the plants have turned brown and died, I just shake the bag and pour out.

  9. Malcolm Carruthers says:

    Hello Karrie, Just came across your site, I was interested in the herbs side of things but saw your video on red potatoes, I don’t know what variety of potato you were using but if you can get Sarpo Mira, which is an all round variety with a fluffy texture and importantly is blight resistant. Here in the UK many allotment holders and home gardeners are getting huge crops of potatoes from this variety, perhaps if you can get them in the US you should try them for yourself. I notice in the comments above some are using shop bought eating potatoes, they will grow but these potatoes are not resistant to many diseases and may or may not perform properly so it can be a bit of a lottery, something to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to buy seed or eating potatoes that have started chitting. (Growing eyes) Here’s a link worth watching; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1Vr4iuxx3g
    The location of this mans allotment is North Yorkshire, Northern England where temperatures are much lower than many states in the USA, probably about the same as Canadian border area?

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