How to Grow a Dustbin or Garbage Can of Potatoes

Even if you don’t have a garden it is possible to grow a dustbin or garbage can of potatoes in a very small yard or garden. Not only will you get a really good crop, but you can harvest them bit by bit as you need them so they are always completely fresh.

  • All you need is an old plastic dustbin, garbage can or similar container.
  • Gravel or broken clay plant pots.
  • 5 x seed potatoes, (only buy from your local garden center).
  • A good-sized bag of multipurpose compost, (enough to ultimately fill the bin to the top).


Firstly drill about six decent-sized drainage holes in the bottom of your dustbin, garbage can or container.

Cover the holes with either 15 cm of gravel, or chunks of a clay pot to avoid them later becoming blocked with compost.

Add a further 15 cm of the compost to the bottom of the dustbin.

Arrange your potatoes on top of the compost with the shoots pointing upwards.

Just cover the potatoes with further compost.

After a few days when the potatoes start to produce green leaves above the compost, cover them over again with further compost, (don’t worry, the leaves will reappear within about 24 hours).

Continue this process until the compost and the leaves reach the top of the dustbin, then allow the leaves to grow on as normal.

Keep the bin watered, but not waterlogged (otherwise you will get potatoes that are black in the middle).

Time to Harvest

Depending on the variety of potato (check on the instructions or the Internet), you can begin to harvest them either when they are in flower (first earlies or new potatoes), or when the top growth begins to die off (maincrop potatoes).

Harvest them as and when you need them, so they are always fresh on your plate.

By using the above method you will get far more potatoes than if you simply filled the dustbin or trash can up with compost and planted the potatoes into it without going through the ‘earthing up’ process.

This method can also be used on a smaller scale in a bucket with holes drilled in the bottom. If you have a greenhouse you can even grow potatoes in time for harvesting on Christmas Day.