Kenosha Potato Project

How to grow potato in a box

This page is linked to the Kenosha Potato Project web pages. See these links for
  • Project description and varieties listing (features' overview)
  • Catalog with pictures and variety description - list of over 281 varieties ... search for vine length to find the best cultivars to use in bags - containers - towers.


Growing potato in a box - box construction and planting tips.
The pictures above [Left variety: Bintje - Right variety: McIntyre Blue] clearly show that some varieties of potato set tubers higher. The bottom board of the potato box is 8" high above soil level.

The Bintje variety has set tubers about 20" above soil level, while McIntyre tubers have reached almost 30" above soil level.

2010 yields results are not impressive! Possibly the soil was too compacted. We should try to use more compost, more sand and wood chips to increase the tuber growth.


Potato Box Design - four 2 x 8 boards
See detail pictures below - the corner piece is a 4x4 post cut to 5 1/5 inch lenght - you don't want the corner piece flush with the board, so that if dirt accumulate on the posts, the boards still can lay flat.

I found building a "mounting fixture" faster to assemble the pieces. You want to ensure that each box measures exactly 36" inside - since we are not building quality furniture ;O) ... we don't need to be very accurate in cutting the boards ... but we still want an exact inside measure, so that if you get to staple several boxes, the boards will match to create an even wall.

secure two 4x4 to keep the distance accurate the fixture prop helps with assembling
Use the fixture to correctly space the top board when connecting to the two sides.
corners don't need to be flush
ensure the internal measure is correct at 36"
Notice the board length is not perfect (not essential) but the inside measure is accurate.
Planting tips
Variety selection is extremely important to ensure success. Growing different varieties in the same container is very difficult .. you must match varieties with the same growing habits (both vine emergence - speed of growth - and vine length).
Notice how different varieties will show different growing habits. Some grow faster, some grow taller.

We recommend to test varieties with just one box layer the first year! Each box is 8" tall - you do the math - add 2 boxes on top and the volume of growing matter that you need to shovel into the box will reach two third of a cubic yard!

That is a lot of work!! You will be very disappointed if the harvest will yield tubers in the bottom 4" of the bottom box.

Test the varieties with one box and add an other next year if you find tubers setting high above the original soil line.

Please return to this page at the end of August to find yields results.

Varieties will be listed in order of highest yields. 2010 results too poor to bother reporting!

If you want to participate ....
The results of the 2010 growing season clearly have shown that growing tubers in bags DO NOT yield larger crops .. unless you keep checking the moisture level = water frequently.

While the growing in a box may lead to a very large yield in a small space but likely THE CORRECT GROWING MEDIUM may make the difference (see pictures on top of this page ... soil is too heavy).

Your participation is welcome in 2011 ... but we are only interested in the results of tubers grown in boxes.


Wanted: Potato Gardeners

If you'd like to participate with the Kenosha Potato Project - here are your options:

  • If you live in Southeastern Wisconsin - please email me at
  • If you live somewhere else in the USA or Canada - are you a member of Seed Saver Exchange? We have a few gardener who participate with the Kenosha Potato Project within the Seed Saver Exchange.
  • We have members of our Global Potato Network in Europe and are always please to cooperate with any gardener / farmer. Sending seed abroad is restricted or difficult ... but we may find ways to cooperate.

Please join us on Facebook - click here

web page updated: December, 2010
Go to our Project Description - Project Cultivar Catalog - Ask a question