Can you recommend how to grow potatoes in barrels due to a wire worm infestation?


I have decided to grow potatoes in half whiskey barrels because my garden soil has wire worms in it and is not good for growing potatoes. If I plant them in the barrels, what kind of soil should I use? What should I fertilize them with? Compost? If there is a way to get rid of wire worms organically?


Pamela Hargest, Horticulture Professional

There are many different growing mediums you can use for containers, but the most important thing is that the medium drains well. I’d recommend combining some composting (about 30%) with a standard potting mix. Once the potato plant begins to emerge, you can use a water soluble fertilizer (5-10-10) every few weeks. I’d recommend checking out this blog post from UNH on the best way to grow potatoes in containers. One of our Master Gardener Volunteers also wrote an article on growing potatoes in grow bags which you might find helpful.

As for wireworm, we typically recommend cultural controls such as controlling weeds in the area where wireworm is present and potentially not growing crops in the infested area for a year or two. Here is more information about wireworm: