What is the Best Raised Bed Depth for Growing Potatoes?

Raised garden beds make growing your own spuds easy and bountiful. But what is the ideal raised bed depth for successful potato harvests?.

Potatoes form tubers underground, so they require adequate soil depth for the tubers to size up properly. Beds that are too shallow lead to stunted, green tubers. On the flip side, extremely deep beds are needlessly hard to dig in.

After much trial and error in my own garden I’ve found the sweet spot for container depth when growing raised bed potatoes. Read on for the perfect potato planter size along with tips to maximize your crop.

Why Depth Matters for Raised Bed Potatoes

When you grow plants in raised beds, you can fill the frames with loose, fertile soil—perfect for potatoes! Potatoes do best in soil that is loose, compost-rich, and consistently moist.

Raised beds warm up faster in spring too, promoting rapid sprouting. And their drainage and warmth boost tuber growth.

However, the depth of your raised beds also determines how sizable your potatoes can grow. Here’s why:

  • Potatoes form tubers along the roots. More soil depth provides more room for tubers to expand.

  • Shallow planters force tubers upward where they are exposed to light. Exposure to light turns potatoes green and mildly toxic.

  • Green, underdeveloped potatoes don’t store well and have poorer flavor and texture.

  • Compacted soil also leads to deformed tubers. Loose, deep soil allows tubers to swell to maturity.

So aim for beds deep enough to keep your spuds covered in darkness as they reach their full potential!

Recommended Raised Bed Depth for Potatoes

Through growing trials, I’ve landed on 10-12 inches as the ideal raised bed depth for potatoes.

Beds around this depth prevent tubers from getting exposed to light. Yet they are still shallow enough for easy harvesting and adding amendments.

Here are more guidelines for selecting the best bed depth:

  • For growing early potatoes only, beds at least 8 inches deep work. Early spuds are small and quick to mature.

  • For a maincrop potato harvest, go 10-12 inches deep. Maincrop potatoes take longer to size up.

  • For seriously impressive, huge potatoes, beds 14+ inches deep are ideal.

  • Avoid beds deeper than 16 inches, as harvesting tubers gets tedious.

  • Standard raised beds are around 11 inches deep—perfect for maincrop potatoes!

No matter the depth, fill beds with rich organic matter like compost. Then plant certified seed potatoes and hill soil or straw around the stems as plants grow.

If your current raised beds are shallower than 10 inches, simply use the “straw method” outlined below.

Growing Potatoes in Shallow Beds

If your raised garden beds are less than 10 inches deep, you can still grow potatoes by using straw or hay to mimic soil depth. Here’s how:

  • Plant seed potatoes in a shallow trench, 1 inch deep and 12 inches apart.

  • Cover the potatoes with 4-6 inches of straw or hay, wetting as you layer.

  • Once sprouts emerge through around 6 inches tall, add more straw to cover stems and leave just the top couple leaves showing.

  • Keep bed covered with straw as plants grow. The darkness prevents green tubers.

  • Check under straw layer occasionally and add more if needed to block all sunlight.

  • Harvest new potatoes after flowering, and maincrop when plants die back.

This straw method prevents the tubers from turning green since they never see sunlight. The result is a healthy potato harvest using shallow raised beds!

Ideal Raised Bed Size for Potatoes

In addition to depth, the length and width of your raised beds affects how many potato plants you can grow.

Potatoes need significant space since you hill up soil or straw around the stems as the plants grow.

Here are the ideal raised bed dimensions for potatoes:

  • Length – At least 4 feet long. Aim for 8-10 feet for abundant crops.

  • Width – 2-4 feet wide. Beds wider than 4 feet are difficult to reach across.

  • Leave 1 foot between potato rows or plants within rows.

  • In beds less than 8 feet long, limit rows to 1-2 to allow hilling space.

  • Prioritize length over width, as potatoes grow along the ground more than outward.

With adequate length and width, you can plant successive rows of potatoes. Just space varieties appropriately and hill accordingly. Stack functions by training pole bean vines up the potato plants too!

Tips for Growing Potatoes in Raised Beds

Follow these tips for stellar spud harvests from your raised garden:

  • Choose early, midseason and late potato varieties to extend harvests.

  • Cultivate soil 12 inches deep before planting potatoes. Enrich soil with aged manure or compost.

  • Cut seed potatoes with 1-3 eyes per piece. Let cuts dry before planting.

  • Space potatoes 12 inches apart in all directions.

  • As foliage emerges, hill soil or straw around stems, leaving just the top leaves.

  • Hill again as plants grow, keeping developing tubers covered.

  • Water deeply, especially as plants flower and tubers bulk up.

  • When plants start dying back, stop watering to toughen skins for storage.

  • Harvest new potatoes when plants flower. Harvest maincrop 2 weeks after vines die.

  • Cure harvested potatoes in a dark, cool spot for 1-2 weeks before storing.

With the right raised bed depth and care, you can grow hundreds of pounds of potatoes without having to dig up your yard!

Frequently Asked Questions About Raised Bed Potatoes

Here are answers to some common potato-growing questions:

How many potatoes will a raised bed produce?

On average, expect 5-15 potatoes per plant, depending on variety. A 10×4 foot bed with 2 rows of 5 plants can yield 50-150 potatoes.

What is the minimum depth to grow potatoes?

Potatoes can be grown in just 8 inches of soil, but the yield will be lower. Shoot for at least 10 inches for a robust harvest.

Should you mix compost into soil for potatoes?

Yes! Mixing compost or aged manure into raised bed soil before planting improves soil texture and nutrients for better tuber growth.

Can potatoes stay in raised beds over winter?

Leaving potatoes over winter invites disease. Clear spent plants after harvest. Potatoes also deplete soil nutrients, so rotate crops yearly.

What vegetables pair well with potatoes?

Great companion plants for potatoes include bush beans, brassicas like cabbage, and aromatic herbs like dill. Avoid planting near squash or tomatoes.


When it comes to raised bed gardening, potatoes couldn’t be easier. Just be sure to provide them with an adequately deepsoil environment.

Aim for container depths of 10-12 inches for maincrop potatoes or the straw technique in shallow beds. Mix in rich compost, hill the plants as they grow, and get ready to harvest heaping helpings of homegrown spuds!

Growing Potatoes In Raised Beds

Leave a Comment