Friday, August 31, 2012
The Container Potatoes are a Success!
But I have been harboring doubts that growing potatoes is the best use of our land. We have put in a couple of rows of potatoes the past couple of years, and we really get maybe the equivalent of a bag of potatoes back. This is after a lot of digging for planting by Mr. FC&G, and it is after injuring quite a few potatoes that, in spite of liberal additions of mulch to the hill, still seem to get embedded in the clay-y soil and then accidentally get hit by a shovel. Truly, I have to admit that there is little ROI in this project. It isn't Fast or Cheap, with the saving grace being a small supply of organically-grown specialty potatoes like the blue ones I so love.
So, this year I experimented as well with the container method. I put about 6-8 leftover potatoes (maybe 3 Yukon Golds and 5 Blue) in the bottom of a large pot (about 2 feet in diameter), and I covered the vines as they grew. When they got over the top, I just let them go and ignored them.
The vines lasted way longer than my other potatoes; I put these in the container sometime in April, and I just moments ago (that is, August 31) tipped the container over in the garden to see what I had. I had what you see above and below:
That's the way I'm doing my potatoes from now on. I have the container ready again, and I have a handful of small Blue seed potatoes sitting out in the sunroom to green up. Once they do, I'm planting another round, and hopefully I'll have a harvest in January. The sunroom, where the container will ultimately reside, stays in the 50s year round, so I think the potatoes will love it.
Fast: This was much quicker and easier, as far as prep and harvest, than the in-ground method. Let's save Mr. FC&G's muscles for breaking more sod in the spring.
Cheap: There is no cost difference with the in-ground method, but this method seems to give me larger and more potatoes per seed potato, so definitely a bigger payoff. Also, if I can get potatoes growing year-round, that is a small additional weight off the food budget in mid-winter just when the canned and frozen goods start to give out.
Good: I'm a pretty happy camper on this one. From now on, my potatoes all go in containers.
Posted by Jennifer Lorenzetti at 5:00 PM