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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label potatoes. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label potatoes. Show all posts

      Wednesday, August 10, 2011

      potato update

      I could have waited a little longer, but curiosity got the best of me.

      Following directions, I mounded soil around the potato plants several times as they grew, until the potting mix was within an inch of the top of the container. All told, I added 6 - 8 inches of soil over the first 6 weeks of growing. I only stopped because the container was full.

      I waited. I don't usually wish for leaves to turn yellow, but since that's the visual cue for potato readiness...these yellow leaves made me very happy! I tugged on the first yellow stem and was dismayed to find a few, fingernail-sized tubers attached to the roots. Surely this wasn't my entire crop. Yet each subsequent stem yielded the same, measly harvest.

      Not willing to accept failure, I stuck my hands into the soil and rooted around up to my elbows. Eureka! First one, then another, then another. So I learned something: potatoes are heavy enough to break away from the roots when you pull on the stem. Did you know that? It may seem obvious to you, but to us first-time-potato growers, it was not.

      So there you have it: potatoes from a container. It couldn't be easier (well it could, but it's still pretty easy) and it took up very little space, making it an excellent crop for small city gardens. at all. If I had a little more room, I might keep the container as is and re-use the potting mix next year. Since I don't, I'll dump the mix, fold up the grow bag, and store it away till next spring.

      Handy, useful product (thanks, Gardeners Supply) & home grown potatoes. Two thumbs up!

      Thursday, April 21, 2011


      Last month I gave a lecture on vegetable gardening in containers and in preparation for said lecture I contacted our friends at Gardeners Supply Company for an image of their very cool grow bags. Why so cool, you ask? Unlike containers made of wood or fiber glass, these grow bags fold down to nothing when the growing season is over, making storage a breeze. Plus they come in some very pretty colors.

      In addition to the image I received an offer to trial a grow bag and since containers are my thing I said Yes! God! Yes! Actually, not wanting to be greedy, I humbly requested a single, tomato grow bag. Marie (@ GSC) generously offered me a potato grow bag as well.

      As much as I love tomatoes, I'm EXTRA excited about the potatoes because I've never grown them before. Let the grand experiment begin!

      1) Unfold groovy double layer polypropylene grow bag. It's water permeable, so excess water flows out the bottom and sides. And because the bag is porous, the roots are well aerated, which is also important.

      2) Add favorite brand of potting mix: Jolly Gardener.

      3) Place potatoes on top of a 3-4" layer of soil. I probably should have only used 4 seed potatoes, but I had 5 and so, you know...waste not...want potatoes.

      4) Cover with another layer of soil (3-4"). Once foliage appears, I'll mound up around it, burying the lower leaves.

      5) Wait patiently. It's been 4 days and nothing's showing yet. Michael reminds me that these are not instant potatoes.

      Stay tuned for potato progress reports. If this goes well I see the roofs of New York City covered in grow bags...a potato in every pot...

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