Sunday, September 21, 2014


Went out this morning and harvested the potaotoes I was growing in the 2'x2'x4' box in the garden. This was the first time I attempted to grow potatoes and I have to say that it yielded some fine looking...soil. Not so much on the potato side of the ledger, however.

 The potatoes were starting to look pretty ratty. While we haven't yet had a frost, the leaves were starting to turn brown on their edges and were, in general, not looking all that healthy. Worn out and ragged would be a good description. I started with 10 seed potatoes and nearly all of them produced plants initially. Now there are only six or so stems sticking up out of the ground.

 I had built up the box using 2' long pieces of 1"x"6" cedar boards. I started with just two rows and added rows and soil as the plants grew. Burying the stems was supposed to engourage the growth of potatoes throughout the box.

The soil eventually was stacked to within 3-4" of the top (some six boards high) when I stopped adding soil. Over time, that soil--a mix of compost, potting soil and peat moss--settled as you can see here withthe top to boards having been removed. You can also see that the plants really look poor.

 With all the boards on one side removed, you can see the nice dark laomy soil that filled the box. There were numerous earthworms in that mix but damn few potatoes.

 That's it. That's the entire harvest from nearly 10 cubic feet of soil: four or five decent sized potatoes and a bunch of little marbles. Certainly not worth the investment in cedar boards, soil and peat moss.
Odd thing is, the bigger potatoes were down near the bottom in the regular clay soil of the original garden and not in the loose mix I had added. Guess there's a reason potatoes grow best in the rocky soils of Maine and Idaho!

Not many taters for the effort...

...but the soil sure looks good!

Well, we can scratch potatoes from the list for next year.
Along with the okra that flowered but never set pods.
And the cantaloupes were tasty but got no bigger than a softball.


Rev. Paul said...

Hmm. To what do you attribute the less-than-optimal results (if other than the depth of the potatoes)?

joated said...

Rev. Paul, I haven't a clue. We certainly didn't have any heat spells or dry spells to speak of.

This was the first time I ever tried to grow potatoes and I followed some directions from folks on the web on how to grow them in a confined space.