The Grow System
We always hilled ours when I was a kid. We always had plenty of potatoes but had 1/8th acre rows. Of course that was 45 yrs ago.
I love that your son is helping you! I bet he likes vegetables as a result. Thanks!
@grdngrl999 I love this idea! I have a composter that is way too small and a pain to work, I prefer the 3 bin system. I still have the composter and have been thinking of just using it as a raised bed but two halves to tip for potatoe harvest is a terrific idea!
I have grown them in burlap sacks because my clay soil just doesn't let root crops grow very well. I have amended the soil so many times but rain just washes the goodness away. I do live on old agriculture land and I think it is just used up. The sacks have yielded me sufficient amounts of harvest so it's my preferred method.
@burekcrew86 we plant eyes in a trench, 4” deep, cover them with soil until sprouts are 3” high, then cover again and repeat twice or more often. Every four to six inches in growth pile more dirt beneath the leaves. But, when the blossoms come so do the potato bugs and eat the blossoms, and the blossoms need to get pollinated. I have also heard, plant the best whole potato to get many more potatoes.
I cut sprouts from both potatoes and sweet potatoes and put them in little glasses of water until roots appear. Then I plant them outside: for potatoes into the garden or large containers but down low, and add more soil after the leaves appear, so that they get hilled up overtime.
For sweet potatoes, I mix up containers of half compost/half sand and put one sprout into each pot, surrounded by some companion plant seeds (like dill, okra, and black eyed peas) and place in full sun. Just make sure the containers drain well, because the sweet potatoes often form at the bottom of the containers (regardless of the depth of the container) and will rot if not draining. After harvesting the companions, and as the tops are dying back, I just dump the containers and sort through to harvest the sweet potatoes.
@burekcrew86 I just posted from 'Old World Gardens' regarding growing sweet potatoes and other types as well....and one of them shows how their family build the containers they plant in with very good results...maybe this will help some.
Also, Hoss Tools have real good vids on many many diff vegetables, including taters...
If I can find one pretty quick on the taters I'll post it under 'new discussion' for you.
@burekcrew86 Just posted one from Hoss Tools..they have more on growing taters, but I watched this one about a month ago and learned something I didn't know in the short vid..
Getting ready to post another for you from "Hollis and Nancy' These two are so much fun to watch and so knowledgable with many many many vids on how to, including building a pantry and it is very very nice...He was a boat architect in his public working life and you can see that in his good work, his ideas, garden tables etc are quite nice.
If you decide to watch their vids be aware there are many he does on sweet and other taters. Some he does a series on like his planting in tubs I think is 3 diff vids and I think he consolidates some of them...His vids on growing onions is good. His wife worked in the restaurant industry and teaches how to make kimchi, she does two diff recipes, one is something like.. American kimchi/stinki and the other is her short not stinki version, and she says easy to make. I watched them both some time back and am getting ready to try the fast easy recipe..
I hope some of this helps.
I live in Michigan, zone 5B, almost 6a and I like planting potatoes in the fall and mulching them with about 6"-1' of leaves. They come up early and it saves a lot of work in the spring. I figured that out since I always miss some when I dig them up in the fall and somehow they came up in the spring. This year I'm trying something different and will see how well it works. I've got about 1/4 bushel left from last year's harvest and most of them are sprouting. Initially, I cut the sprout and a small piece of potato and ate the rest of the potato. I left the sprout on the counter for a few days, partly because I wanted the cut to dry of and partly because I didn't get round to planting them. Then a few sprouts broke off the potatoes and I noticed they had little roots on them already. I stored my potatoes in a root cellar that had high humidity. So I planted those sprouts too. I now have over 90 potato plants growing in 3-4" pots which I plan on planting as soon as I get the bed ready. They are outside right now, but I'm watching night time temps, so I can bring them in when frost threatens. Some are 1.5' tall with leaves already. When I plant them, I'll mulch them with straw to protect them till frost and freezes are past. I am really curious if they produce as well as planting the whole or a piece of the spud. I did plant some whole ones that were too small to bother cooking. I figure sweet potatoes are grown from rooted sprouts. Why not white, purple, red and pink? I know they're a different species, but except for different temperature requirements, they mostly grow the same. I'll post when I get results.
I cannot wait to try this method for myself! Last year I planted a bunch of my sweet potatoes in canvas buckets and put them on a shelf so they didn’t have roots through the buckets into the ground. I also planted in a corner of the high tunnel and outside it, in a bed. The ones in the dirt under the high tunnel did the best but harvest is difficult for my arthritic hands and we enclosed the ends of the high tunnel, making it a greenhouse so that option is out for this year. I wonder how tomatoes would do when done this way...
I have reached the time when I prefer bags or containers for certain crops. I can dig, but I don't want to. Its really time consuming. One crop can be harvested in a matter of minutes and I empty the soil on a tarp that I later drag to the compost pile or my regenerating soil pile. Two other benefits of a container or soil bag is you can move it to another location if need be and cover it quickly for a surprise freeze or insect issue.
My first container crop was carrots. I mainly grew them in containers because of my rocky soil and I could grow straighter carrots and to control White flies. I just covered the container with a small cheese cloth piece and it was insect free. I grow onions either in a container or in a box with removable sides. I really don't like digging or pulling crops.
A gardener who does not like to dig?
Tomatoes grow well in containers, just make sure they are big containers for the tomatoes to have a good root system without crowding. The advantage of tomatoes in containers is you can move them if you need to. My friends down south would move them during the hottest hours of the day so they would not dry out as fast and have a break from the sun for an hour or so.
Containers tend to dry out faster so I either mulch the soil on top to help with this or grow another crop like lettuce with it to shade the soil.
Also when planting I take a pop bottle, cup off the bottom and insert it upside down in the middle or back of the container. I can use this to deep water the plant. The water goes down to ther roots, encouraging better roots and will not dry out from the sun. I also have a cap or plastic piece I can cover the bottle with if I go into a wet week.
I always remove the lower leaves and plant my tomatoes up to the top part of the plant to give it that extra root system. I’m just imagining planting them in the baskets, like described for sweet potatoes, adding dirt and mulch as they grow up and wondering if the plants would send out enough sideways growth to make it profitable. If no one mentions trying it, maybe I’ll try it this year just for grins.
I just cut a piece of sprouting potato and put it in the ground the next day. So far, so good. Easiest thing to grow for me. It's the one plant that doesn't seem to require a lot of babying.
I'd like to know some good container ways to grow spuds. We don't have any ground space where we are at now so I've never tried to grow them.
We are growing sweet potatoes for the first time ever this year. I have 4 sweet potatoes rooting in water on my kitchen window sill. No idea how they'll do here in Minnesota, but we're going to try.
@silvertipgrizz Thank you! 😊
@karenjanicki I’ve heard several people have tried growing them in 5 gallon buckets, and grow bags with success.
Your climate is probably a lot like mine. Sweet potatoes will do fine if you get the slips big or in the ground as soon as it is safe. They will do their better part of their growth when its hot and later sweet potatoes actually like it bit cooler and have a sweeter taste if they grow when its cooler. A plus for northern growers if they get them in the ground at a nice size or select a short season variety.
I grow from what I found in the store years ago and now save a few seed potatoes from each season s I do not know what its original growing season but I think I have acclimated the spuds to my climate.
I tried to grow carrots in a grow bag once. I only got 2 to grow I think and they were all spindly haha 😂
@karenjanicki - I haven’t grown anything in grow bags yet. I’ve actually grown potatoes in 5 gallon Lowe’s buckets. I drilled holes in the buckets. I was pleased with the potatoes I got from them. I have planted carrots in half barrel containers and the harvest was wonderful! Definitely freed up real estate in the garden for other things.
How many potatoes would you guess you harvested from the 5 gallon?
I've done the plastic garbage can method a number of times with good success, but you have to keep on top of it to be successful. Add good soil and mulch as the leaves emerge and water well when needed. A few well placed cutouts in the garbage can allows you to gently pull the lower leaves out through them for sun as you add more soil, etc. Come fall, dump the barrel and hopefully have a bumper crop of tatters.
Thank you all for such good ideas. I have never tried potatoes but will give it a try this year.
I wonder if i can plant potatoes right now. I've got some with eyes.
One year I had an old bookshelf in the basement gathering dust. I took it out to set in the sun for a while. It got turned on it's back and I decided that we should try to grow potatoes in it. It was perfect to put different types of potatoes in each area and watch them grow. It didn't have a back on the unit, so we just plopped the pieces onto the grass and covered it with dirt, soil, mulch and whatever we had. More coverings were added as the plants grew up. At the end of the season, the kids dug up treasure in each cubby. So much fun was had that summer.
@karenjanicki Oh boy, I’m terrible at that because I don’t weigh my harvest. I remember being very pleased with what I got out of the buckets I had planted and not having to take up precious garden space to do so. Very important to keep an eye on watering in spells without any rain and plenty of drainage holes if you get a lot of rain. I definitely would do this method again.
@frogvalley . I used a shelf one year too, actually several years. It was a fast and easy garden and successful
This is a great thread! I've read about the tower method and if I want to grow potatoes I will need to do that. I have deep hard clay so it would be difficult on many levels for me. I have an old raised bed that was here when I moved and I "decommissioned" it. It had big pavers for the bottom half so I couldn't grow anything deep rooted. I left the soil and have been layering in compost from the house and garden, moving the soil from one side to the other as I add more to the pile. Two days ago I discovered a bunch of potato shoots lol. If they survive these record breaking cold days I may have to leave that side alone except to add more compost/straw whatever as they grow. Another experiment!
Very cool! Thanks for the info :)