You Say Potato...

naomi.kohlmeier Posts: 380 ✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Vegetables

This year I tried growing potatoes in a bin by planting potatoes and piling dirt and straw in layers as the plant grows. I watched youtube videos on how to do it and followed the directions to a fault. The plants grew like crazy. Well, last night I decided to harvest them. Out of the 12 or so plants I ended up with maybe eight potatoes at the very bottom of the pile. What do you think happened?

We also have potatoes of the same variety planted in feed bags that produced eight to 10 potatoes per plant. As did the potatoes we planted directly in the ground.


  • danielle.meitiv
    danielle.meitiv Posts: 30 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2020

    Where do you live and what's the climate like? Potatoes don't like really hot weather or soil temperatures. I think the latter is the key. That's why your spuds were at the bottom of the pile and not all along the stem, like one would expect, and while the bin, which probably had poorer air circulation and got hotter, didn't produce that well.

    I'm in the Washington DC area and our summers are hot. I get great results growing potatoes in the early spring - I plant them in the fall and just wait until they decide the soil temps are right. This year, for the first time, I put some sprouting ones in the ground in late spring just for the heck of it. I piled up some mulch, etc but didn't expect much. In the end, however, three plants that didn't grow very big gave me about eight potatoes. But the interesting thing is that ALL of the potatoes were underground with NONE in the mulch I'd piled up. IMO that's because the ground was cool, while the mulch was too warm for the tubers to develop.

    My current experiment is growing potatoes in a part-shade area, and mulching to keep the ground cool, even though our daily temps are around 90. I'll let you know how that goes.

    I hope this helps.

    Happy growing!

    PS - my husband is from Russia and our joke when we met was "you say tomato, I say pomidor, you say potato, I say kartoshka..."

  • naomi.kohlmeier
    naomi.kohlmeier Posts: 380 ✭✭✭

    @danielle.meitiv I think you have something there. I planted the potatoes in cool weather, but it's been in the upper 90's here. I think the straw/dirt combination could have caused warmer temps as it composted, so the potatoes grew at the bottom.