Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A potato box: In pictures

Left to right: 6 red lasoda, 2 purple viking, 4 all blue

The box. 3 levels of it anyhow. boards are added as the plant grows and you fill in the box with dirt/mulch/leaves/whatever you can find that will keep it dark.

The potatoes in the dirt. I'm standing on the west side of the box (one side to the left in the above picture). From top to bottom: All blue, purple viking, red lasoda

In reality, you're supposed to place the potatoes on prepared soil that's at the bottom of the box, and only have one level of boards in place. Since I'm putting the box on top of an old tree stump, I had to put prepared soil in the box and then place the potatoes and then cover it with more dirt (thus the 3 levels of boards). The picture showing the box above is filled to the level where I placed the potatoes, I added another 4" of soil on top of that and so now I've got maybe 4" of board left. As the potato plants grow, I will add another level of boards, fill in with dirt (or more likely some type of mulch) and allow the plants to grow for as long as they will.

The reason why this is supposed to be so good is because, in theory, come harvest time, the bottom board can be pulled away, the potatoes on that level harvested, and the board replaced. A week or so later you can pull the second board off and harvest those potatoes. Repeat this "moving up" process until all the potatoes are harvested. In reality, I think it's going to be more of a just pull off all the boards on one side when it's time to harvest and harvest them all at once.

What I hope to accomplish with this experiment:
a) get more potatoes than I planted
b) harvest some potato seeds (as the plant does flower) and see if I can get them to grow plants next year. I figure this must be tough to do or something, otherwise people would be doing this instead of using seed potatoes.
c) have this still going and doing fairly well when my mom comes to visit in a month or so (she is, after all, the reason why I'm doing this experiment in the first place)

Other experiments, albeit unplanned:
I bought some sweet potatoes at the store a few weeks ago and they started sprouting. I broke off the sprouts before cooking the potatoes tonight and planted some of them in a pot of dirt.


Bob said...

That box looks pretty good. Did you do that or the hubby?

Ol' man Munroe, down the road from us, when I was a kid, used to do something similar when I was a kid. He used old tires. Now that would look good in your yard. He placed the potatoes on the dirt in a tire and covered them with leaves. As the plants cleared the leaves he added more leaves and eventually another tire With all the watering the lower levels of leaves turned into compost and helped fertilize the plants. If memory serves me right, it seems he always got to four tires. He only put three sets per tire planter. He had a bunch of them out back though. Good luck.

news games said...

This is beautiful and I think I follow your ideas. ;)

Lancashire rose said...

You have done those seed potatoes proud. I had no idea this was the time of year to plant potatoes and I would really love to grow some. I think I could use a few 5 gallon buckets to give it a try. Good luck.