Monday, May 21, 2012
Growing 100 pounds of potatoes in 4 square feet
I’ve always loved the taste of a fresh, home-grown potato and if you’ve read any of Michael Pollan and know how commercial growers often manufacture the potatoes you get in the store, growing one’s own sounds better than ever.
I’ve tried it for two years with mixed success – one year, getting potatoes that lasted through the winter and the second year getting zip.
And it was hard work – digging deep trenches for the seed potatoes, then mounding them as the plants grew, then mounding again, and again, and again as they got taller, even running out of dirt after a while.
I’ve heard of people growing potatoes in tires, where you start the plants in the dirt at the bottom of one tire, then add dirt and tires as the plants get taller, but the idea of growing potatoes inside of rubber tires sounded as unhealthy as something out of a Pollan book.
Then I stumbled upon this story from the Seattle Times, about how to make a wooden potato-growing bin where you add more wood – and dirt –as the plants get taller. Some inexpensive pieces of wood, a little assembly and voila, you’re supposed to get 100 pounds of potatoes and just four square feet, with little effort.
So… I’m trying it. It will be a test of both my woodworking and botanical skills.
An illustration of the bin is included in the Seattle Times story. You might want to try it yourself.
We can compare notes – and potato recipes.