Written and Submitted By: LeanneThere’s nothing like the flavour and texture of a new potato right out of the ground! However, they take up a lot of real estate in the garden. With making the switch to a small space backyard garden this year, I was faced with the challenge of how to get a taste of that new potato loveliness without taking up too much space. I had heard about a great idea that I thought I would try: build a 3x3x3 foot frame out of 2x2 inch pieces of cedar. Slide in 1x6 inch cedar boards to make a base. Fill the first 6 inches with soil and plant a seed potato in the centre. Once it sprouts, at weekly intervals, “hill” the plant by adding another 1x6 layer of boards and 6 inches of soil, until you reach the 3 foot height. I also read you can do this with old tires – start with one tire containing the first layer of soil and a seed potato, and hill by piling on another tire each week, filling with soil as you go. Interesting idea, easy and a nice way to reuse old tires, but not very attractive!
I wasn’t sure what would happen after harvest, though – that’s 2 or 3 really big piles of soil to put… where? So instead, after consulting my handy dandy vegetable gardening “how to” books as well as the Internet, I decided to try growing my potatoes in containers. I was assured you only need a container that is at least 2 gallons – not too much soil to get rid of in the fall, attractive containers, and nothing to build. I started with a seed potato in about 6 inches of soil (actually I put 2 – I’m greedy and hoping for a bigger yield per pot). Then I followed the same instructions as for the built wooden boxes above – once they sprouted I added soil so just the tips of the foliage were sticking out and kept doing that at weekly intervals until the containers were full. Once the foliage dies off, I can dig down for those earthy pearls! Can’t wait to see how it works out!