I LOVE LOVE LOVE potatoes. I am pretty sure I am like Forest Gump listing all the possible things I could do with the humble potato. I remember grade 3 our teacher taught us how to grow a potato. We planted our thin slice with a eye or two in an oversized pot and left them in the sun for the janitor to water. In June she sent them all home with us. I was proud to show my parents and it sat in the kitchen window. By September it had died and I was sad. I threw out the entire plant. I didn’t yet understand that you had to dig out the potatoes. Yes , I am a slow learner.
Since then I have learned to not only grow your potatoes but dig them out. If I can do that there is no reason anyone cannot grow a potato. The most common complaint I hear is – I simply don’t have space to grow potatoes. Wrong! I am going to teach you how to grow a ton of potatoes in just 1 foot of lawn space, using a garbage can!
Potatoes like to be buried way dow deep, because all new potatoes grow on top of the original. Once you have selected a verity you would like to grow – find seed potatoes (these are not from the grocer, most grocer potatoes have been treated not to reproduce even if the seem to start “growing” in your potato bin. Seed potatoes are an organic potato and can be found at nurseries or from local farmers or hobbyists.
- According to Garderner’s Path.com here are the 11 top home grown potatoes
- Daisy Gold traditional masher
- Kennebec – high yielding sturdy spud bread for salads stews etc
- Red Gold – white fleshed potato with red eyes – nutty flavour
- Red Pontiac (I have grown this one – a Tradtional red )
- Rio Grande (tradtional russet or baking)
- Magic Molly Purple- a purple fingerling potato – great on BBQ
- Masquerade- two tone skin – and only takes 63 days to grow
- Princess Laratte ( lovely French potato – long growing time
- Purple Majesty (large round purple potato)
- Peanut Fingerling ( I am testing out this one this year)
- Yukon Gold ( I have grown in the past with success)
Once you have your seed potato – you need to prep your garbage can. Drill lots of holes for drainage and air flow, not only in base but I like to drill holes up the sides as well for good air flow.
I add a thin layer of pea gravel to base of can to prevent the holes from getting clogged and increase drainage.
Now planting time – add a few inches of rich loose soil. Place your seed potato eyes up into dirt. For a garbage can sized container I place 3 or 4 med sized potatoes. (Or 1 seed potato for every 10 lts of your container) Cover with a few more inches. Place in full sun water and wait. Once the leaves reach 6 inches tall add 4 inches of dirt to cover most of the stock. – this will encourage the plant to produce more roots and tubers.
Once you reach the top, continue to water and let grow – it will flower, after flowering do not over water – this is when tubers form and will rot if in standing water too long – once plant dies back you can harvest- that is late summer / fall here –
Here is a video by “ Happy Money Saver” to help show you when and how to harvest you bin. Just tip over the can and viola ! Tons of potatoes.