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Thread: White Potatoes
Jun 30th, 2011 8:50 AM #1
In a large barrel that sits in the center of the yard, I have potatoes started in a mixture of compost and rich, earth-worm filled dirt, about half and half. I started the seeds in about 8 inches of soil. As they grow and leaf out to about 4"-6" tall, I cover them just to the tops of the leaves again.
I've covered them once more right after this picture was taken, and that will be it for the covering. Now they will be allowed to grow to maturity.
I did the same thing in a plastic barrel, just a common trash-can. I started these in saw-dust, but sometimes when it comes time to cover them there isn't any sawdust ready, so actually this has been being alternated with sawdust and dirt.
As you can see these have a long ways to go. I suspect that's because this barrel, which is right up beside the house facing West, gets much less sun than the wooden barrel. According to the directions and testimonials, I should get close to 100lbs of potatoes from this plastic barrel. I figure for the wooden one then, at least 50lbs.
I thought I had a picture of the patio pot but now cannot locate it, though you can see a tiny corner of it beside the plastic barrel. The potato plant in it has already grown and been covered to the top, and now some leaves are peeking out again. I really hope that experiment goes well, because if so that would mean even a patio gardener can easily grow a few potatoes. If that pot manages to get full of potatoes, it might be as much as 10lbs- but I am guessing of course. We'll see.
Does anyone here have experience curing potatoes so their skins will toughen up for wintertime storage? I've been growing red potatoes exclusively (in the ground) because each year I'd save a few of the potatoes to plant the next. They kept really well most of the winter but I strongly suspect that was just good luck. I don't want to count on luck alone if I do have a bumper crop of potatoes.
I'll re-post some cool links found when I was trying to figure out how to creatively grow potatoes in a small space, since this is a potato thread. :)
4 Simple Steps to Grow a Hundred Pounds of Potatoes in a Barrel
How to Grow Potatoes in a Barrel of Sawdust
SCORE! The lady who wrote the Lasagna Gardening book has a website. She tells how to grow potatoes using this method (basically sheet composting) and makes it sound very easy.
No need to dig trenches or to hill up. Build a lasagna bed to eliminate grass and weeds, don't use any lime or nitrogen-rich materials (such as grass clippings), lay down one or two sheets of wet newspaper, lay seed potatoes on top of the paper, and cover with spoiled hay or compost. You can use pretty much anything you have that is dried. Chipped leaves are great for covering the tubers. I use hay that is well-cured and lying next to my potato bed, so I don't have to carry it too far.
Site and soil. Potatoes need full sun, good drainage, and can tolerate acid soil. Preparing a lasagna bed and adding bone meal or rock sulfate produces a good harvest and large tubers. Avoid planting potatoes where you have grown them or their relatives (including eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes) for the past three years.
Planting and harvest. Be ready to plant in early to mid-spring and have enough material to cover the bed with ten inches of mulch. Be prepared to add several inches of cover to the bed as plants grow. The important thing here is to keep the tubers covered so they will not see the light of day. By the end of the growing period, the plants will be propped up with hay or other soil amendments.
Slip your hand under the mulch to harvest a few small potatoes when the beans are ready to pick. Let the rest continue growing until the foliage has yellowed. Don't try to dig! Lift the mulch and pick the clean tubers up off the newspaper.
Be on the watch for potato bugs. Try to catch them when they are small. Sweep across the foliage with a broom. They will fall into the mulch and, when small, not be able to find their way back up to the leaves....
Jun 30th, 2011 9:52 AM #2
You need to dry the skins out to harden them by spreading them out in a dark cool place for a few days. Check none are soft or damp before you store them as they will rot and spoil the rest. Best way to store is in brown paper bags. Most important thing is to keep them in the dark and protect them from frost. Room temp is fine for storage or a little cooler. Smaller bags are better than sacks as if one does rot, you don't lose as many.
Best tip for making them last longer, as long as you are slug free in your containers, leave them in the earth as long as you can. You can leave them till the first frosts arrive.
BTW early potatoes don't keep nearly as well as main crop potatoes.
Jun 30th, 2011 11:13 AM #3Originally Posted by Vuall
Thank you so much!
Originally Posted by Vuall
Last edited by Nu Kua; Jun 30th, 2011 at 12:13 PM.
Jun 30th, 2011 11:32 AM #4
Jun 30th, 2011 12:13 PM #5
Ok, I see. I've dug some up when they are small to saute with a little olive oil and rosemary.
Yum, can't wait! This is one of the best things to eat right out of the garden.
Jun 30th, 2011 7:20 PM #6
Jun 30th, 2011 7:26 PM #7
Jun 30th, 2011 7:28 PM #8
Jun 30th, 2011 9:05 PM #9
I just put some more in the ground for another batch of newbies. I enjoyed mine so much I am now out. ANyway, you have a great setup for potatoes, but if you want an easier time without having to bury them in dirt, simply use mulch. They will do fine in the stuff, and if will be easier for you to dig to get them. Also, mulch can then be used in the late fall to cover anything that needs a bit of extra protection for the winter.I'd Rather Be A Right-Wing Nut Job Then A Liberal With No Nuts And No Job
Jul 1st, 2011 12:38 PM #10
I have some started in a tire. Am on the second layer of tires and dirt.
We usually plant a large section of potatoes on some friend's property, but that didn't happen this year, so had to come up with a different route.Neither do men put new wine into old bottles
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