Sunday, July 1, 2012

How we grow potatoes, one way

Potatoes are one of our major crops, up here on the mountain homestead.  We've been working on them for years, trying different permutations in order to maximize yield.

Here's one, which we borrowed from urban gardening: the humble potato barrel.  The concept is simple: plant potato seeds* at the bottom of a barrel.  As the plants grow, add soil or compost.  When the growing season is done, upend or break open the barrel then pick out the spuds from the results.

We piloted this last year with a couple of plastic barrels, and things went well. The plants grew rapidly, and escaped any touches of disease our other crops experienced.  The end result was a nice pile of tubers.

So this year we expanded the potato barrel project, using every available container:

Five are standing, while one lays sideways, as you can see.  I (Bryan) hauled the barrels together, then Ceredwyn started the seeds:

So far they're coming along nicely.

*potato seeds are actually chunks of potatoes.  They need at least one eye to work.


Megadoom said...

Doing basically the same thing, but using 5 gallon buckets, and I'm not thrilled with the yield. What type of spud are you using?

Ceredwyn said...

We use all kinds. Perhaps your yeild could be improved using deeper buckets? These hold 55 gallons.

Megadoom said...

How many do you plant per barrel?