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Potatoes

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Potatoes

Post  Pam Hazelwood on 4/21/2011, 10:41 pm

I've never grown potatoes so this is all new to me. I have some beautiful potato plants and every day or two I've been adding dirt to the 'high-rise' squares to bring the dirt up to the top of the plant, with the top still showing. I also have two rows in a regular garden. But Mel's book says to cover the plant every week. I've read on this forum others who just cover to the top. Am looking for clarification. Thanks!

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Re: Potatoes

Post  altagarden on 4/22/2011, 12:26 am

Not sure what you mean.... I kept covering them up completely with dirt and they kept growing up and up through the dirt. Until the box was full of course and then I stopped doing that. Make sense?

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Re: Potatoes

Post  Pam Hazelwood on 4/22/2011, 8:28 am

It does and I will do that in my boxes.. Have you ever grown them in a row garden? I've always heard about creating the potato hill,, just wasn't sure if you put the dirt up and over the top of the plant. Nevertheless, I'm going to do that.

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Re: Potatoes

Post  boffer on 4/22/2011, 10:03 am

The 'hilling' that row gardeners do is to prevent potatoes from being exposed to sunlight. The soil only needs to be pulled up around the plant once or twice to keep the potatoes hidden.

Growing potatoes in a garbage can, stacked tires or boxes, or heavy bags is intended to increase the yield of the footprint. Hopefully, each time 4-6 inches of medium is added, it will cause the plant to create new potatoes in that layer. One summer, I got over 70 potatoes out of one garbage can.

Honestly, I don't know for sure if the 'high rise' is a tidy way to hill, or if there's a chance of getting an extra layer of potatoes. Fill the high-rise to the top and you're done. The most important thing it does is to keep the potatoes covered. They will turn green and become slightly toxic to humans when exposed to sunlight. The green part may be cut off and the rest of the potato may be safely eaten.

Potatoes will grow in six inches of MM just fine, just keep the spuds covered.

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Re: Potatoes

Post  clfraser on 4/22/2011, 4:32 pm

Boffer, Could you describe the growing potatoes in a garbage can method you used? I would love to try it. Size of garbage can, how much planted, how planted, covering plant? Anything that might be helpful to a new gardner. It would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: Potatoes

Post  boffer on 4/22/2011, 5:23 pm

Sure, but I don't have the missing link!

The first year I tried, it was classic...a galvanized garbage can with a rusted out bottom. I painted it green, turned it upside down, put in 6 inches of MM, and planted 4 seed potatoes. Every 4-6 inches I added MM untill less than 1 inch was showing of the plant top. Plants don't grow at the same rate, so I just guessed. I think it was five layers I added.

I had company the day I decided to harvest. I put a tarp on the ground, and pushed the can over, and started pulling out MM. The potatoes just kept coming. It became fun each time I reached in to pull out more...oooooh...ahhhhh...woooah...my guests starting teasing (no alcohol involved). It was really cool. But I haven't been able to do it since, and I can only guess why.

Since then, I've tried the can again, and I've tried six 2'x2'x6" boxes stacked. I've tried MM, 4 way compost, and 'topsoil' as filler medium. I can't duplicate my first year success. I am a poor note taker, so I don't know what type of potato I used that first year.

I've since read that there are short and long season potatoes and that the long season does much better in this situation. That may be the missing link.

It was fun to try, but I have the space to spread out. This year I've planted 40 seed potatoes in a raised bed, and 40 more in a 12 inch deep SFG table top box. Last year I did the same, and the harvests were similar.

Potatoes are cheap at the store. But the flavor and texture of homegrown potatoes will blow you away!

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Re: Potatoes

Post  bigmama75 on 5/13/2011, 11:05 am

Ok so I've heard people cover the potato plant all the way as it grows and I heard people say you leave 1/3 of the growth above the soil/compost that you add. Which way do you guys do it and what seems to work best? I need to add some compost today or tomorrow.
Thanks.

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