Friday, April 25, 2008

grow potatoes!

My friend Elaine and I were talking about growing potatoes and I did a little research:

The potatoes are planted inside the box, the first row of boards is installed and the dirt or mulch can now be added to cover the seed potatoes. As the plant grows, more boards and dirt will be added.

You can grow 100 pounds of potatoes in 4 square feet. All it takes is some lumber, seed potatoes and careful attention to watering.

"A lot of people think you plant a potato and that the new ones grow below it, but that's not so," Lutovsky said. "Potatoes grow between the seed piece and the above-ground plant."

Potato pointers/here are some growing tips from Greg Lutovsky:
  • Cut apart larger seed potatoes, making sure there are at least two eyes in each piece you plant.
  • Dust the cut pieces with fir dust, which seals the open ends from bacteria.
  • Fertilize with 10-20-20 fertilizer at planting and a couple of times during the season.
  • Water so that the plants are kept at an even level of moisture.
  • Don't plant in the same area in consecutive years or use the same soil to fill your potato box, as potatoes can attract various diseases.
  • When the plant blossoms, it starts setting potatoes in this added soil. Soon after that, you can start removing the bottom boards from your box and "robbing" the plant, reaching in carefully and pulling out new potatoes.
  • Unless you steal all of them during the growing season, in the fall you should end up with a box of spuds — as much as 100 pounds
  • Watering at an even rate is especially important when growing potatoes in a box since they will dry out faster in the container than in the ground.
  • Don't drown and then let the potatoes dry out. Repeating that cycle throughout the year is a guarantee that you'll grow knobby, scabby potatoes
  • Your full potato crop is ready to be harvested when frost kills the tops. Or, in the absence of frost, you can cut off the tops yourself, wait 10 days to two weeks for the skins to firm up and then take your box apart completely, sorting the potatoes from the soil.


SX0T said...

Are you at all familiar with the artwork of Ken Rinaldo and Amy Youngs in the Art and Tech section here at Ohio State? I have studio hours with both of them and they are working on some incredible "green art" involving raising fish and veggies that are sustainable and stuff...pretty cool.

Specifically check out the "Fish Farm" here

Ken has some of his work here

Penny said...

Thanks, Scot, I will check it out for sure.

Shibaguyz said...

Fellow potato urban gardener here! We have the same "potato condo" (our pet name for it) that you do! We're up to three rows of boards on ours this week.

We have a triple connection: fellow blogspot bloggers, potato condo and I was born in Columbus and raised on a farm SE of there on the Ohio/WVa border.

Small world... just stumbled across your blog tonight looking for others who had tried this technique for raising spuds. Check our our "condo" pics!

talk to you soon...
The Shibaguyz

Penny said...

Hi, Shibaguyz!
Potato condo! Cute. I like the "Potato Power Tower" after the ride at Cedar Point. Do you know about this place in Ohio?!

We have another connection you don't know about-I was a fellow Pacific Northwester for about 5 years!!! I lived in Bend, OR, but think I would love to settle someday in Seattle (if they had the same public transporation as Portland). said...

This is an AMAZING project! I'm totally linking to this in todays Daily DIY. Not to mention doing this myself this weekend!

Barbee' said...

Very clever project. Thank you for sharing. The most I have ever done with them was plant them in an old metal garbage can with a rusted out bottom. Used mostly compost for the 'hilling up'. They did ok, but I'm sure would have gotten more return if I'd used chemical fertilizer, too.

I've never heard of fir dust before. Where in the world do you get that?

Penny said...

Hi, Barbee,
Thanks for writing! I don't know where you would get the dust! Perhaps one could find a fir tree and just shake it over the potatoes in the spring (this is when I see yellow pollen all over my car). I was actually thinking about trying the trashcan method next year-I really like the idea of dumping it out on a tarp to sort through the dirt. The only fertilizer I used was the organic plantone stuff, and I just planted them in compost. They don't seem to need anything else, but maybe I will change my tune when I see how the potatoes grew, not the plants.

Barbee' said...

Hi Penny, thank you for the reply. Interesting about the fir dust.

May I make a suggestion: I didn't know if this project is in Columbus, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, British Columbia... or other. I figured it out by expanding your map a few times until I saw the name Indianapolis. I guess I just have this 'thing' about liking to know the approximate vicinity of the blog, such as, what country, and if in U.S.A., what state. It's interesting to me. It would be pleasant to see what state, too, maybe add it to your header: "CCG Events around Columbus". Anyway, it is a super good blog.

Penny said...

Thanks for the fantastic idea! I have updated the blog to be more user friendly in terms of location. All of the authors are located in Columbus, Ohio!
Thanks again, and I am so glad you like the blog!

katty said...

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