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Garbage Can Potatoes

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  Lindacol on 1/10/2012, 10:34 pm

nKedrOoStEr wrote:A few things I have found looking around: Heat. Place the barrel in direct sunlight. They love the heat. Water. The water goes hand in hand with the heat. Potatoes are very drought tolerant so the vine will continue to grow and be green even in hot, dry conditions. However, not many taters will be produced.
.

In the weather we have here in southern California this does not work. Especially if you use a metal trashcan/barrel. The Yukon golds died as soon as it got hot, before flowering. The picture below includes the total harvest from 2 cans planted with about 6 small seed potatoes. They tasted sooo good but wish there could have been more.


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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  gwennifer on 1/11/2012, 12:09 am

@Red-Leg wrote:I've never tried growing potatoes, but was thinking about using the following method in my front yard. I was even thinking about pre-assembling the complete box and having the wife paint something pretty on the outside before disassembling for planting.

Grow 100lbs of Potatoes in 4sf

FYI - This would be method number 6 in llamamamma's Potato Growing Methods thread.

Boffer, haven't you said that you've grown different varieties of potatoes in that can from year to year? So it could be just nailing down the right type of tater, like maybe a long season variety like Ha-v-v said. I've got an e-mail in to a garden gal here in Vancouver that I took a class from at the community center. She taught that the best way to grow potatoes was to dig a trench down 18 inches, filling up every 6 inches as the plant grew, and even topping off another 6 inches once you got up past ground level. So since I did that, and then had to dig down two feet to get my potatoes, I'm thinking she owes me an explanation! We'll see.

Plantiod said in Choppers Tater sprouts? thread that he had potatoes all the way up to the top when he planted in a stacked barrel method. I begged him for details, but he must not have seen my follow up. Are you reading this Plantoid?!?! I'll send him a PM.

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  plantoid on 1/11/2012, 7:38 am

Reply to your PM Gwennifer and for all those interested .. it basicaly covers what has been said about type of potato.

I also see some one has said potatoes are tollerant of drought .. no so ..methinks instead it should read intollerant of drought .
here in temperate /wet Wales the farmers still spray irrigate the potatoes nearly all year round because a drop in moisture will check the potatoes growth , they can't do any thing about sun but they can about the water .

Boffer ...... try shading the barrel sides and reduce the evaporative area of the top of the barrel by placing some cardboard with a couple of holes cut in it .

My sack & barrel grown potatoes took a couple of pints of water a day and once they got going making potatoes it was four or five pints a day one of which was a liquid feed of almost green coloured steeped chicken muck & its straw in water every four days .

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  RoOsTeR on 1/11/2012, 7:58 am

I also see some one has said potatoes are tollerant of drought .. no so ..methinks instead it should read intollerant of drought .
Looking back at my post, I should have worded it differently for clarification. The plants themselves are drought tolerant. I might have missed the wording, but I think I clarified the plant will grow, but actual production will be poor.

Potatoes are very drought tolerant so the vine will continue to grow and be green even in hot, dry conditions. However, not many taters will be produced.

Part of the problem is, on the web, everyone is an expert. One site says high nitrogen, the next says low. One says heat, the next says cooler. Some say cover the can at night, others say don't. Some say drought tolerant, others say not...

So far, no one has found what boffer was originally looking for. Go back and re-read the original post. I think everyone knows the method.

Boffers question:
We need someone to find the definitive factors to make garbage can potatoes a success each and every time.

He gets you thinkin here:
Each spring, gardeners all across the internet get excited about growing potatoes in garbage cans. There are posts on forums, blogs, and websites about garbage can potatoes and how to do them. But, there is rarely any follow up-including here on our forum. Nobody comes back mid-summer or fall to talk about the great harvest they had. Rarely does anybody post pictures of dozens of potatoes spilling out of their can. And I wonder why.

Is there a definitive answer or are we just shootin taters in a barrel?



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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  martha on 1/11/2012, 5:14 pm

I have no prior experience in growing potatoes, only plans for this year, but I will volunteer to scour the 'net and see if I can find any clues to answering the original question.

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  gwennifer on 1/11/2012, 8:13 pm

The answer is out there Rooster, it's gotta be. I found some folks in Wisconsin that have already embarked on a potato growing research journey:

http://kenoshapotato.com/

At first it looks like a dead end - all the promise but no follow up. On closer inspection there's a lot of information there to be mined. I've got a squirmy toddler here keeping me from any real work but take a look. I think Ha-v-v was on the right track with the German Butterballs. According to Territorial Seed they have a high tuber set. That might be an indication of a variety that can be grown vertically.

(BTW - Plantoid reminded me that his potato varieties in the UK are different then ones grown here. So his successful barrel grown potatoes won't be available here. But maybe we can find a correlating variety.)

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  gwennifer on 1/24/2012, 3:52 am

I wanted to post the results of my research in case anyone was following this thread.

As best as I can tell, the idea of growing potatoes vertically was only started as a method of growing potatoes in containers rather than in the ground like you would in a traditional row garden. As in, if you garden in containers for whatever reason, here's a way you can still grow potatoes. Or maybe you just like the idea of being able to dump out your container at the end of the season to harvest the potatoes rather than digging them up. So if growing in containers, then adding the layers was only to mimic the hilling up done in the traditional row gardening method, not for the purpose of increasing your yield.

However, since some folks do say they get more potatoes this way (I was unable to find any proof of this), here's my recommendations for you, based on my research, if you want to try if for yourself:

1. Pick a mid to long season variety that is described as having a "high tuber set" or maybe "long vines" or "long stolons". Red-skinned varieties are purported to be more prolific as well.

2. Put your container in the shade. Tuber set halts when potatoes get too hot.

3. Be diligent with your layering. Apparently the stem will "harden" when exposed and therefore will not put out any more stolons.

So I don't know if these are the "definitive factors" we need, but it's the best I can offer and it is what I will be using to try potatoes this year (since I do not have the space in the ground, but I do have some space in the shade!). Best of luck to you all!

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  Windsor.Parker on 3/6/2012, 12:21 am

@boffer wrote:...(I will use 'garbage can' to include any type of tall container 24-30 inches and up for growing potatoes ie stacked wood boxes, sturdy bags)...
But I would like to see forum members have success with their garbage cans this year. I suspect potato variety may be important; maybe the growing medium is important...
Boffer,
This is my 1st try with growing taters, and it looks like the best fit for my plan is here. Do you agree?
Here are my potatoes...

They're really ugly, no?

Here's my garbage can.

It's only 20" tall but it's nearly 30" wide.

I plan to use that bale of straw, but I also have c. 20 gallons of garden soil I can use instead (not shown) if you think it could help us "find out" something.

Please advise this newbie.

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potato varieties for "up-growing"

Post  curio on 3/6/2012, 8:44 am

I think one of the issues with the vertical potato bins not producing as people expect is the variety of potatoes grown. The Early season varieties are sort of like determinate tomatoes. They grow to a point, then set "fruit" all at once. Most of the mid-season and late season varieties will continue to grow and produce over a longer period of time, and are better choices as a rule for this type of growing.
If you want some of the early season varieties, and want to use the MM and raised beds, it would work to use the same type riser as the one used for parsnips and carrots. You could go up to about 18" on that one, and get a fairly nice crop.
We forgo the early season varieties as a rule, since they don't continue to produce throughout the season, but might consider a couple of short boxes either this year or next for the early season varieties that we really love.

Some of the more popular early season varieties are Red Pontiac, Yukon Gold, Kennebec and the Classic Russet. These generally make a larger tuber than many of the late season varieties that are popular.

The mid season varieties that would make a nice substitute for those early season varieties are German Butterball, Red Pontiac, Russet Burbank, Red Lasoda, and Yukon Gem.

The late season varieties include many of the "gourmet" or Fingerling potatoes, such as French Fingerling, Russian Banana, Butterfinger, Red Thumb. Some of the slightly larger long season varieties include Yellow Finn, All Blue, and Carola.

Different varieties will have different storage lives, with some keeping better than others. A good source for many nice varieties of Organic Seed potatoes (and organic garlic) is Irish Eyes Garden Seeds. www.irisheyesgardenseeds.com

We've successfully grown potatoes for several years now, and are still eating the last harvest of the fingerlings from last year. We have generally used just straight garden compost to grow our spuds... but will try one box with the Mel's Mix this year and see what happens. Potatoes sometimes don't like super rich soils (depending on variety), but don't like poor soil either.


Last edited by curio on 3/6/2012, 8:46 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : forgot something.)

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  Ha-v-v on 3/6/2012, 9:10 am

I think one of the issues with the vertical potato bins not producing as people expect is the variety of potatoes grown. The Early season varieties are sort of like determinate tomatoes. They grow to a point, then set "fruit" all at once. Most of the mid-season and late season varieties will continue to grow and produce over a longer period of time, and are better choices as a rule for this type of growing.

When we started talking potato growing methods, that is what I started looking into the "types" of potatoes and when to plant for my area. Well I have tried for 4 yrs (Im just a tad slow because I put too much on my plate in a lot of things) and this year will be the year I succeed ( I hope LOL) I planted during the right time for my zone Smile I planted in plain compost, supposed to be a good stuff Smile looks really good the both I purchased in bulk. I am seeing the reds I did the early planting experiment on Feb grow!! I planted 4 sq ft outside and two buckets inside a hoop house. The ones inside of course are almost done with me filling their buckets with compost and I will just let them go then. Outside they are still in the 8 inch high boxes I will be buying the materials shortly to go up on those boxes soon, this week lol.


I do see on the irish site they say german butterballs are a mid season, I found it at the potato garden and other sites as a late, would that matter I wonder. German Butterball was the only long season besides the ozette fingerling I purchased, I have one early, red nordland and a few mid season, yukon, cracked butterball, purple majesty. The mid and late season have potato boxes so I can go up, the reds have 8 inch boxes like you said and will only go up to about 16 inches.

It is so nice to hear someone eating potatoes from their last harvest, it is these things that keep me trying things.

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late season butterballs

Post  curio on 3/6/2012, 9:43 am

My guess is that is because you're in a much warmer climate, and the mid-late season varieties like cooler temps. It's preferable with the long season varieties to shade them during the hottest part of the summer to provide that coolness. We tuck our boxes a little under some tree cover even here, making sure they get about 5-6 hours of sun a day.
Once you've quit hilling up your spuds, make sure to let them go to flower and for the vines to die back. Also, when they are actively growing, you need to make sure the stems rising above the "ground" are not allowed to get too large, as they will harden off and not produce tubers on that area of stem (and sometimes anything above it). We cover ours when they reach about 3-4" above ground, and then cover to just below the top leaves.

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 3/6/2012, 12:28 pm

Curio, Thanks so much for your 'tater wisdom. It verified some of the suspicions I've had about potato varieties. Explains why the Kennebecs performed like they did. I shall pay more attention to the early-, mid-, late-season qualities this year. Nonna

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  FamilyGardening on 3/6/2012, 1:25 pm

i read some where that you should cut off any leaves that will be burried under the dirt as you *hill up* ....only burry the vine/stem part......not sure if this works or not...just something i ran across when researching garbage can potatoes Very Happy

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

Post  moswell on 3/8/2012, 1:43 pm

I'm so excited to try potatoes this year, and I'll be using either a grow bag or a big garbage can. Guess for this year I'll use plain compost - making Mel's Mix by oneself is a pain in the rear, and the idea of making a whole other batch for the potato container is more than I feel like doing (or may be capable of, if I have to get knee surgery).

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Re: Garbage Can Potatoes

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