Monday, April 28, 2008

Our Tower-O-Potatoes

A friend of mine related to me a few years ago a story of a university friend of his. They were grad students at the time, living off tiny stipends, so saving money any way possible was beneficial. So, he grew potatoes in tires. What he did though, was take one seed potato, plant in the ring of a tire and let it grow. When the green broke the surface by a few inches, he added another tire, and barely covered the green with more soil. At the end of the year he was five tires deep and a serious amount of potatoes richer.

So, I did some reading, and this idea wasn't unique to him. It is in fact nothing more than an extreme version of the practice of hilling up potatoes to increase your yield. It seems that all you have to do, is wrap some dirt around a potato plant and it will send off shoots to grow more tubers.

In the same way that economy motivated the friend of my friend, economy forces us to make do with what we have. We have very little space. But we also have big appetites, so, we need to maximize our potato growing capability. This year, we're growing them in a expandable bin. In the pictures you can see two rows of the bin. four feet by two and half feet. Whenever I need to, I build a new ring. I've decided to leave a small gap between the rings for cooling. Supposedly if the soil gets too hot then the potatoes may rot.

I'm not actually sure this is cheaper than buying a couple ten pound bags of russets, but it is probably cheaper than the same amount of the fingerlings we're growing. Besides, these will be better.

The pictures are before and after adding more soil. And, the prone trellis is for cat deterrent. It didn't work though. We have a section of cheap one foot wire fencing that fits perfectly though, and that is keeping the cats out of it.

1 comment:

Sinfonian said...

Looks great! Good idea to leave the spacing if your area gets too hot.

I wonder how you'll add the next ring without the vertical supports. Can't wait to see the update pics.