I planted my potatoes last weekend, so the second weekend in April. This year I planted some in pots versus in the ground. I’m hoping this method will make it easier to avoid or minimize a blight outbreak if one comes our way. Portable pots will fit in the garden better too. If nothing else, I’m interested to see how they yield.
One downside to growing potatoes this way is they require more regular watering since the soil dries out faster. I’m not too worried about that. My biggest concern was finding enough material to fill the pots with. Brian solved that problem for me. On the left is a scoop of composted hay. On the right is some topsoil he scraped up from where the lean to was that burned. There were cattle in there before the fire. He cleaned up the old bedding and manure a long time ago but I’m sure a lot of the nutrients seeped in to the soil underneath.
I mixed the soil and compost about 50/50 and spread it a few inches deep in the bottom of each pot. Then I placed the potatoes in. I put anywhere from 3-6 potatoes chunks in each pot depending on the size of the pot and whether each chunk appeared to have a viable eye.
Then I covered the potatoes with just a couple inches total of soil, then compost. When the sprouts come up and are several inches tall I’ll add more material, leaving just a few leaves stick up. The process will be repeated until we reach the top of the pot.
Last summer I asked a local landscaper (Matt Kirk for the locals) if he would mind saving me some of the tubs from trees and plants. He saved me plenty. Thanks Matt! The tubs are perfect because they are durable and already have holes in the bottom for drainage. Plus, they’re free!
I started with 15# of Red Pontiac potatoes (certified seed from Big Acre). They’re good size so I cut them in several chunks each. The picture above shows what’s left – quite a few. Looks like I’ll be planted the remainder in the ground. That’s probably not a bad idea anyway so I’ll have a back up supply.
This is the first year I’ve grown potatoes in tubs. My Mom and I grew them in tire stacks filled with straw. We only did it one year but it did work and seemed to produce good yields. There are several other people experimenting with buckets and tubs. Kate wrote about her experiences over at Living the Frugal Life. A quick Google search will pull up a lot of other resources. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it!