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What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

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How to grow 400 potatoes in 4 sq ft...

Post  dstack on 5/19/2014, 11:40 am

This has been running the circuit on Facebook, and I'd like to try it for "prep" practice. Very Happy 



I like sweet potatoes more, but I don't think they'd do as well with this method. BTW, I have three varieties of sweet potatoes growing in 6 large pots. One is beauregard, and I don't know the names of the others.
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  boffer on 5/19/2014, 11:43 am

They failed to mention the most important part: the method only produces multiple layers of spuds when indeterminate potatoes are planted.   Shocked
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  dstack on 5/19/2014, 12:51 pm

@boffer wrote:They failed to mention the most important part: the method only produces multiple layers of spuds when indeterminate potatoes are planted.   Shocked

Boffer, thanks for bringing that up. I've never grown potatoes before and didn't know that there were determinant and indeterminate varieties. I'll keep that in mind.  Very Happy 
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What's your "sure thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  GloriaG on 5/19/2014, 1:01 pm

Hi dstack,

You're right the sweet potatoes won't grow well in a potato tower.  Sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are totally different types of plant.

Regular potatoes are members of the Solanaceae family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants) and the part we eat is a "tuber" that is actually an enlarged underground stem.  The leaves of potatoes are poisonous.

Regular potatoes can be either determinate or indeterminate.  Determinate potatoes are fast growing (harvested within 60 to 75 days) and produce one ring or layer of tubers just above the original seed potato.  Varieties include Red Pontiac, Chieftain and Yukon Gold potatoes.

Indeterminate potatoes are slow growing and produce additional layers of tubers from the central plant stem as growing medium is added to the container.  Varieties include
Russet Nugget, Nicola, German Butterball and Elba potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are members of the Convolvulaceae family and the part we eat is a tuberous root.  All sweet potatoes have edible leaves and roots. Because the edible part is a tuberous root, the potatoes form under the original slip as the roots extent and swell.   Varieties include Vardeman ,  Beauregard, and Centennial.

Because of this when you plant sweet potatoes or determinate potatoes you fill your container completely to start.  The sweet potato slips go in the top of the MM and the determinate seed potato near the middle of the container so the roots have room to grow.   When you plant indeterminate (white) potatoes you plant a seed potato in about 6" of MM then add more medium as the plants grow.  

There are other differences as well.  Sweet potatoes LOVE the heat and as a result they like quite a lot of water.  White potatoes like mild weather and want to be very dry.  (The potato famine in Ireland was a result of too much rain.) 

FWIW:  We yield about 66 lbs of  Vardeman sweet potatoes from 3 25" grow bags.

Hope this helps.
Gloria

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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  dstack on 5/19/2014, 3:15 pm

@GloriaG wrote:Hi dstack,

There are other differences as well.  Sweet potatoes LOVE the heat and as a result they like quite a lot of water.  White potatoes like mild weather and want to be very dry.  (The potato famine in Ireland was a result of too much rain.) 

FWIW:  We yield about 66 lbs of  Vardeman sweet potatoes from 3 25" grow bags.

Hope this helps.
Gloria

Thanks Gloria!  So potatoes wouldn't do well in the Florida summer. It's our rainy season, and very humid. I would try in the fall.
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What's your "sure thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  GloriaG on 5/19/2014, 3:48 pm

Hi dstack,

Yes - it looks like the dates for planting potatoes in Florida are September - March, depending on exactly where you are in the state.

BTW - In looking at your hardiness zone I noticed this website    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021 that may be of interest to you.  It lists the planting dates, plus some info on recommended varieties for Florida.

Good luck with your SFG.
Gloria

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Easiest to Grow on the Gulf Coast

Post  Rahab222 on 3/15/2015, 4:54 am

I've been gardening for a lifetime.  Grew up on a farm with a 30-acre garden.  Now I'm in the suburbs and basically just have a standard tract home to work with.  Mostly the backyard and some fruit trees in the front.  Fruit trees are the easiest to grow in my neck of the woods.  They require very little maintenance; except for fertilizing with the fertilizer sticks in the fall and the spring.  I put a peach tree in last year and it is covered with blooms.  I also have a dwarf orange tree that gives us loads of oranges Dec. - Feb.  I have a kumquat tree in the corner, but I don't really like those.  I'm thinking about cutting it down and putting a different fruit tree there, as all the kumquats go into my compost bin.  I also have a dwarf pomgranate tree and Satsuma Orange tree.  Along with strawberries and blackberries.

I am only planting what I know will grow this year.  Right now, my salad bowl lettuce is flourishing due to the rain and cold temps.  I also have a 12' x 6' onion bed, because I use a lot of these for seasoning or just eating like any apple.  I just planted my Yukon Gold potatoes and you have to really watch because the squirrels will dig these up and you have to replace them ASAP.  Tomorrow, I'm going to plant more onions.  My pepper plants and tomatoes plants are ready to go in the ground as soon as our last norther before Easter comes through.  I plant lots of herbs, purple hull peas, pinto beans, Blue Lake green beans.  I haven't had any luck with squash or okra.  I don't know why.  I figure if I have to make stone soup, I'll have plenty of things to season it with.  There is potential for extending my garden, but I've actually got all I can handle right now, as I do this on my own.  I also did pretty well with cucumbers last year.  We just eat all these things fresh.  When I need something to cook with, I just step outside and get them.  I've learned to quit wasting time and money on things that won't grow in my garden.  This year, I'm going for the sure things.  All we canned last year was salsa and jam for Christmas baskets we give to friends and family.  People love this - anything homemade that fresh and good!

Hope this helps in your decisions.  But definitely don't forget the fruit trees since they are so low maintenance and give you an abundance of fruit!
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  dstack on 3/15/2015, 8:29 am

@Rahab222 wrote:... I've learned to quit wasting time and money on things that won't grow in my garden.  This year, I'm going for the sure things.  All we canned last year was salsa and jam for Christmas baskets we give to friends and family.  People love this - anything homemade that fresh and good!

Hope this helps in your decisions.  But definitely don't forget the fruit trees since they are so low maintenance and give you an abundance of fruit!
Thanks Rahab222,  I'm getting there quickly.  By "there" I mean that I want to "quit wasting time and money on things that won't grow in my garden. " Although, I still have some experimental things to try, but I'm leaning towards things that are known to do well in the tropical South.


Regarding, trees, it looks like we may have our first mangoes this summer off of our young tree that I grafted from a neighbor's tree.  There's another set of buds near the top of the 10 foot tree.  I started the root stock from a seed.



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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  Cajun Cappy on 3/15/2015, 1:09 pm

The only sure thing I know is there are NO sure things.  Some things have better chances and fruit trees are a given but even then its not 100%,  On an average year our lemon tree gives us a big wheel barrow full of lemons.  This year because of a late frost last spring we got barely a dozen lemons.  Now the tree is full of blooms again and if we do not get another very rare late frost we will be back to the wheel barrow loads again.
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  Triciasgarden on 3/15/2015, 2:10 pm

For any area I would say variety! Like others have said, choose things that grow good in your area. Pineapples like you have Dstack would not grow here in Utah.
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/15/2015, 3:07 pm

Here on the Cape in MA I've been growing food for 3 yrs now. It seems that strawberries grow with any help from me. The only maintenance they need is to mow down the escapees...or dig them up and give them away. But my neighbors have started running in the opposite direction when they see me with them.

Kale and collards have grown really well every year if they don't get decimated by cabbage worms. Great lettuce here, too

CC
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  Goosegirl on 3/15/2015, 3:48 pm

Egyptian Walking Onions and Cilantro. Planted each, once, years ago and they have both been the gift that keeps on giving!

Also, planting heirloom tomatoes that are suited to my climate. I found some great ones for my northern short growing season, and even the volunteers from the previous year's droppings grow up well on their own and give a great harvest.
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Potato Box

Post  Rahab222 on 3/16/2015, 1:00 am

dstack;

Before you do the potato box, you need to go to YouTube and do a search for this.  I was going to do this last year.  Except for one woman who did hers in a 55-gallon trash can, all the others shown were a bust.  People showed their harvesting of the box and were ending up with from 1-3 potatoes.  Some got not.  The woman with the trash can that was successful, layered her container with pine needles since potatoes like acidic soil.  I'd look for her video, as she got a bunch.  I also had two friends who built these last year from a kit.  Nada.  They were so disappointed because they waited so long for those potatoes to make.

I plant my potatoes in a 4' x 4' box that are made out of cedar fence posts (cheap).  I bought the 8' boards and had Home Depot cut these in half for me.  I used 2" x 2" boards at each corner so I could continue stacking boards as the dirt heaped up.  I also planted my potatoes in 6" high rows - 3 rows per box, as you would usually plant potatoes.  I fertilized them with stakes two weeks after planting and again when they flowered.  The Yukon Golds were small, but I got what the package said I would get lb. wise.  The pontiac red potatoes were quite a bit larger and I had a larger volume of potatoes with these.

Just thought you might like to check these out on YouTube before you go to the time and expense of building the box in your diagram.  I think the square foot gardening method allows more seed potatoes in a smaller space, but all plants need plenty of room for proper air circulation.  That's why I started mine in 6" high rows.  You have to check them often, as the squirrels are really bag about digging them up.  I replaced five seed potatoes today and in just the time it took me to go in the house to get more tea, when I got back, the squirrels had already snatched two of my just planted see potatoes.  Those critters are FAST!  Good luck!
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  dstack on 3/16/2015, 5:39 am

@Rahab222 wrote:dstack;

Before you do the potato box, you need to go to YouTube and do a search for this. ... Good luck
Thanks!  Someone mentioned in another thread that the potato variety has to be indeterminate for that to work.  Unfortunately, there's not very much information on which varieties are determinate vs. indeterminate.   In researching this I came across another forum debate on whether potatoes can be determined or indeterminate, and it was ultimately, and thoroughly settled by a horticulturist who really know his stuff.  However, it's frustrating that there's very little information about this.  

Anyway, I don't plan to build any potato boxes any time soon.  I will be doing small layering experiments first.  That's good to know that Yukons don't work since that was one of the varieties I was going to try.
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  yolos on 3/16/2015, 4:17 pm

@dstack wrote:
@Rahab222 wrote:dstack;

Before you do the potato box, you need to go to YouTube and do a search for this. ... Good luck
In researching this I came across another forum debate on whether potatoes can be determined or indeterminate, and it was ultimately, and thoroughly settled by a horticulturist who really know his stuff.
Hey, you left us hanging here.  "it was ultimately, and thoroughly settled by a horticulturist" who said   ????????????????????????????????????? Can they be determinate and indeterminate.  I have heard that what you are looking for is early maturity vs late maturity.
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  dstack on 3/16/2015, 4:21 pm

@yolos wrote:
@dstack wrote:
@Rahab222 wrote:dstack;

Before you do the potato box, you need to go to YouTube and do a search for this. ... Good luck
In researching this I came across another forum debate on whether potatoes can be determined or indeterminate, and it was ultimately, and thoroughly settled by a horticulturist who really know his stuff.
Hey, you left us hanging here.  "it was ultimately, and thoroughly settled by a horticulturist" who said   ????????????????????????????????????? Can they be determinate and indeterminate.  I have heard that what you are looking for is early maturity vs late maturity.
Sorry, he was pretty clear that potatoes do have determinate and indeterminate varieties.
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  plantoid on 3/16/2015, 7:39 pm

I've just bunged " determinate & indeterminate potatoes"  into my search engine & this came up .

yara.us/agriculture/crops/potato/key-facts/potato-types/

 In that link they state that , " Yes there are the two types ", ..it's an interesting read
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  Triciasgarden on 3/17/2015, 5:31 pm

I think it was LlamaMama who posted a site that showed the name of every potato and if they were determinate or indeterminate. I will try to find it and re-post it.
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  dstack on 3/17/2015, 6:00 pm

@Triciasgarden wrote:I think it was LlamaMama who posted a site that showed the name of every potato and if they were determinate or indeterminate.  I will try to find it and re-post it.
That would be great!  I've been searching for a list like that on the Internet. Thank you!  

Now if I could only find a comprehensive list of plants that are root knot nematode resistance vs which are susceptible to RKNs. However, I understand that there are different strains of nematodes which like some varieties of plants and not others.  But that's a subject for a different thread.   Very Happy 
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Re: What's your "Sure Thing" for a bountiful harvest?

Post  sanderson on 3/18/2015, 1:45 am

My only sure things are the 20 year old orange tree and peppers. I guess I can add garlic. In January, I replanted some cloves from my soft neck garlic harvest last summer (from a store bought garlic). I also planted a hard neck farmer market garlic and a free sample HN garlic from a nursery and they are doing beautifully.

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