We tried growing potatoes in the past and have had mixed success. The ones in the square foot gardening were a complete bust. I really never understood what happened but oh well. I planted sweet potatoes in the front yard actually because their vines are so pretty. Nothing happened the first year then over the last couple of months we'll look over a see an orange potato poking out of the ground. As I have no clue if they are edible we just leave them out on the garden bench with other garden items.
This time we wanted to try something new but easy as well. You see we have come to the realization that while we like gardening we really hate the tedious task of weeding. We've done square foot gardening with minimal results. We are very successful when it comes to container gardening and that is our approach for 2013.
Growing Lots Urban Farm. They have a lot of interesting things on their blog go check 'em out. The idea is you create a vertical cage tube and have layers of potatoes that grow inside while all of their vines grow out the side. Their step by step instructions were so easy to follow, I'm not going to copy them here so you have to visit them! Here's their picture of a "finished" project ~prior to harvest that is.
As with any new project there is always that initial outlay and the decision of whether the results are worth the cost. We weren't sure we were going to build the cages once we started shopping around for wire. The cheapest we could find a roll of the 4' wire they suggested was $50, we don't eat that many potatoes. Discouraged we thought we'd just wait until we found a different plan or some salvage wire somewhere.
It pays to have an open mind when doing projects such as these. While coming home from the Farmer's Market on Saturday we stopped at a store I've been eyeing for a while. The easiest way to describe this store is think of a garage sale for all the tacky, strange, no longer in style items that box stores can't sell. This store had everything you could just about think of. While carefully walking around their outside area I spied old metal bins, the kind you'd find at the end of an aisle with stuffies or bags of goodies in them. They weren't as wide as we had hoped to make ours but I believed we could make them work. I tried to haggle the price with the guy but I still think I got them for a deal considering we now didn't have to cut wire, bend it into shape or even created the connections.
We decided to grow a container of white and a container of red potatoes from a local nursery so we know they're meant for our region. It was easier and quicker to put up the green-house then it was to create our two towers but we did it.
- 2 metal frames $20
- 5 lbs white seed potatoes $3.50
- 5 lbs red seed potatoes $3.50
- 1/3 bale of hay $2.00
- compost FREE
- water from rain barrel FREE
Total price for first season $29.00 We should expect to harvest over 50 pounds of potatoes this year.
Don't they look nice next to the greenhouse! On top of the Red Potatoes we planted Cilantro. On top of the White Potatoes we planted Morning Glories. You'd be amazed at how much compost it took to fill them up. We wound up emptying one of our bins completely!. We also used half the rain water in one of our barrels.
Stay tuned for our Spud Updates!