There are many methods for growing potatoes but none is as easy or as convenient for a backyard as the container or trash can method! All you will need is a container between 20"-30" tall, a trash can works perfectly.
Start with seed potatoes. I found mine at the local garden store. They are easiest to find in January to early February. You don't want to use grocery store potatoes because they can carry diseases which will produce unhealthy plants. Seed potatoes are certified disease free and ready for planting, but if you can't find any - store potatoes may work in a pinch.
You want to cut each potato in half and then in half again - making sure there are a few eyes on each "seed". The cut pieces will then need to dry for at least 24 hours to help prevent any rotting.
Meanwhile you can prep your planting area. Drill some large holes in the bottom of your container to ensure proper drainage. We also placed ours on two boards to facilitate even more drainage.
Once your container is ready to go, fill the bottom with medium sized rocks - we used volcanic rock because it was the most economical but any rock will do. After the rock layer, add about 6 inches of an acidic soil. You can buy soil with higher acidity or add a good amount of organic material like leaves or peat moss to increase it's acidity.
After the potatoes have finished drying it is time to plant! Place the "seeds" cut side down in the soil and cover with a few inches of your soil mixture. After some time the potato vines will begin to grow up and out of your soil. Once they have reached about 6 inches tall, cover them with soil again until just about a third is sticking out. Continue this process until the plants begin to flower. Remember to water your potatoes but not so much that the soil is soggy - that will increase your chances of rot. Liquid fertilizers are also a good choice if you are so inclined. After the plants have flowered, stop watering and let them dry. Once the vine is withered and dry, let the potatoes cure in the soil for a few weeks to help them store longer. Depending on soil/weather conditions this process should take about 130-150 days and will produce a trash can filled with delicious home grown potatoes!
-Megan & Mike Knorpp