I've grown potatoes in rows (and had a good harvest), potatoes in towers (also a good harvest), and this summer I decided to try potatoes in containers. The title of this post pretty much sums up my experience. I planted five pounds of potatoes, and my yield was pretty much.... five pounds of potatoes. Enough for one meal and leftovers. Not at all cost-effective, and completely and totally not time-and-effort-effective.
Of course, it could be user error. I probably did a million things wrong. I used unfinished, unscreened compost as my growing medium. The pots were only 10 gallons. I started them in the hottest place in my garden and that stunted them early on. The roaming turkey (remember her?) destroyed the leaves once or twice. I grew them in summer instead of in cooler weather. Who knows. All I know is that I'll do potatoes in the ground from now on. I think potatoes benefit from being spread out, having a lot of room to grow sideways, and don't like being cramped. The hilling seems not terribly important, meaning that a covering to prevent light from getting in seems to be all my potatoes need - not huge mounds of soil. Potatoes grow from the roots, but not from the stems, so trying to grow them 'up' instead of 'out' really doesn't make much sense.
Oh well. I have some volunteer potatoes coming up where I had them last winter (I must have missed a few while harvesting), so I'll let those go and hopefully we'll have another small crop in January.
I watched a video on You Tube of a guy in Britain who grew potatoes in enormous containers on his allotment, and they did very well. So again, chalk this one up to me not doing it right somehow, but still. No more experimenting. I'll grow them in our raised beds from now on.