Kratky Potatoes

Kratky Potatoes – Growing Potatoes with Kratky Hydroponics

Kratky hydroponics is a simple, low-maintenance method of growing plants without the need for soil, pumps or electricity. This method is particularly well-suited for growing potatoes, as they require minimal nutrients and can thrive in a static solution. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up and maintaining a Kratky hydroponic system for potatoes.

Materials Needed:

  • Container (5-gallon bucket or similar)
  • Lid for the container
  • Net pot or plastic basket
  • Growing medium (perlite, vermiculite, or coconut coir)
  • Hydroponic nutrient solution
  • Potato seed tubers
  • pH testing kit
  • TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter

Why Choose Kratky for Potatoes?

  • Low Maintenance: No need for pumps or timers.
  • Water Efficiency: Uses less water than traditional gardening.
  • Space-Saving: Ideal for small spaces and indoor gardening.

Setting Up Your Kratky System for Potatoes

  1. Container: Choose a large, deep container to accommodate the potato’s root system. A 5-gallon bucket is a good starting point.
  2. Net Pots and Growing Medium: Use large net pots and a sterile, inert growing medium like coconut coir or perlite.
  3. Nutrient Solution: Prepare a balanced hydroponic nutrient solution, rich in potassium and phosphorus to support tuber development.
  4. Seed Potatoes: Select certified seed potatoes to avoid disease. Cut them into pieces with at least one eye per piece.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Preparation: Place seed potato pieces into net pots filled with growing medium.
  2. Nutrient Solution: Fill the container with the nutrient solution, ensuring the lower part of the net pots is submerged.
  3. Placement: Position your Kratky container in a location with ample sunlight or under grow lights.
  4. Monitoring: As potatoes grow, ensure the nutrient solution level decreases. Top up if necessary, but allow air space for root oxygenation.
  5. Harvest: Potatoes are ready to harvest when the foliage begins to yellow and die back. Carefully remove the entire plant and medium to access the potatoes.

Tips for Success

  • Monitor pH Levels: Keep the nutrient solution’s pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
  • Change Solution: For longer growth periods, replace the nutrient solution every 4-6 weeks to avoid nutrient depletion.
  • Pest Management: Regularly inspect for pests and diseases. Use hydroponic-friendly pest control methods if necessary.

Advantages and Challenges of Growing Potatoes without Soil

  • Advantages: Cost-effective, efficient use of resources, and suitable for urban farming.
  • Challenges: Requires monitoring of nutrient levels and solution, and managing pests and diseases in a soilless environment.

5 Steps to Growing Potatoes Using the Kratky Method

Step 1: Preparing the Container

  1. Clean and sanitize the container and lid thoroughly.
  2. Cut a hole in the lid slightly smaller than the diameter of the net pot or plastic basket.
  3. Place the net pot or basket into the hole, ensuring a snug fit.

Step 2: Planting the Potato Seed Tubers

  1. Fill the net pot or basket with the growing medium, leaving about an inch of space at the top.
  2. Place one or two potato seed tubers into the growing medium, with the eyes facing upward.
  3. Cover the seed tubers with an additional layer of growing medium.

Step 3: Preparing the Nutrient Solution

  1. Fill the container with water, leaving about 2 inches of space between the water level and the bottom of the net pot or basket.
  2. Add the hydroponic nutrient solution to the water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Test the pH of the solution and adjust it to a range of 5.5-6.5 using pH up or down solutions.
  4. Check the TDS of the solution, aiming for a range of 800-1200 ppm.

Step 4: Maintaining the System

  1. Place the container in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day or use grow lights.
  2. Monitor the water level and top off as needed, ensuring that the bottom of the net pot or basket remains submerged.
  3. Check the pH and TDS of the solution weekly and adjust as necessary.
  4. As the potato plants grow, they may require additional support. Use stakes or a trellis to keep the plants upright.

Step 5: Harvesting

  1. Potatoes are ready to harvest when the plant’s foliage begins to yellow and die back, typically 90-120 days after planting.
  2. Carefully remove the net pot or basket from the container and harvest the potatoes from the growing medium.
  3. Store the harvested potatoes in a cool, dark place for long-term storage.

Tips for Successfully Growing Kratky Potatoes

  • Choose potato varieties that are well-suited for container growing, such as ‘Red Pontiac,’ ‘Yukon Gold,’ or ‘Fingerling.’
  • Avoid overexposing the growing potatoes to light, as this can cause them to turn green and develop a bitter taste.
  • Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests or disease and address any issues promptly.

I grow my Kratky potatoes in a bathroom upstairs we rarely use. The potatoes do not get direct light and are in a dark environment, which potatoes thrive on. A basement would be an ideal place to grow the potatoes, but we do not have basements in our area.


Can any variety of potato be grown with this method? Yes, but some varieties may perform better. Experiment with different types to find the best for your environment.

How long does it take to grow potatoes using the Kratky method? It typically takes 3-4 months from planting to harvest, depending on the variety and conditions.

Do I need to add more water during the growing period? The Kratky method is designed to minimize maintenance. You may need to add water if the solution level drops too quickly, but ensure there’s always an air gap for roots.

Can I reuse the nutrient solution? It’s not recommended to reuse nutrient solutions as the balance of nutrients changes with plant uptake, potentially leading to deficiencies or toxicities in future crops.

Growing potatoes using the Kratky hydroponic method is a simple process and I find it very rewarding. Both beginners and advanced hydroponic gardeners should do well growing potatoes on a soil-less environment.  Homegrown potatoes are simply satsfying.