By Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
There’s any number of reasons gardeners prefer to grow things up instead of out.
At the expense of sounding as if I like to do everything the easy way . . . I always like to do everything the easy way, here is my incredibly simple method to growing potatoes. Plant your potatoes above the ground.
Rocks, caliche and heavy mountain soils make garden with potatoes impossible. Many gardeners simply don’t have whole lot of land or time to work with. Other than hard work, frustrations and blisters do you need another reason to grow potatoes in containers?
Containers filled with potatoes
One of the easiest containers to use for growing potatoes is a bushel basket. It’s a great size and the basket fits into the whole country/cabin theme nicely. If you don’t have a bushel basket or don’t care for the look, you can use a 5 gallon bucket or a garbage can. Just make sure you container has drainage holes in the bottom.
You’ll want to plant only one seed potato in a 5 gallon bucket, but feel free to plant 2 or 3 in a bushel basket or garbage can. First, fill the container halfway up with Watters Potting Soil.
Set your seed potatoes on top of the potting soil in the container and add just enough soil on top of the seeds to cover them. As the plants grow, add more potting soil to cover the tubers, always make sure the potatoes are buried. Continue to cover tubers as the plants grow up above the top of your container.
In summer, after flowering, stick your hand in the soil and harvest the potatoes that you need for your favorite recipe, side dish, BBQ or salad. You’ll harvest for months! Another idea is to simply wait for the tops of the plants to die back and turn the entire container over for an instant fall harvest.
More Potato Container Ideas
How about a big cardboard box? A box is just for for the season, and you can compost it after the harvest! Just fold the flaps down in the inside and plant. Remember to dig a bit into the ground like 5 or 6 inches and bury the bottom edge of the box so it doesn’t blow away. You can always place some big rocks at the bottom instead. This is an easy idea for condo and apartment dwellers. Even a laundry basket makes a great container for growing potatoes.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the garden center.
Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at www.wattersgardencenter.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/WattersGardenCenter .