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Trash Can Potatoes

Friday, March 27, 2009

Did you know you can grow your own potatoes on a patio, balcony, deck, sidewalk or someplace other than a garden?

Here's how it works.

Buy Potato Bags from Gardener's Supply Company


or Marshalls (a Brit company)

I like the look of the Marshalls Potato Bag - nice taupe color and all...

Or you can take a large plastic trash can and cut or drill 5 or 6, 1/2 inch drainage holes in the bottom.

Place a layer of newspaper 7 sheets deep on bottom of garbage can.

Pour rich humus or potting soil on newspaper layer about 10 inches deep. You can buy potting soil and humus at Walmart or Home Depot or Lowes or almost any garden center.

Slice your seed potatoes so that each chunk contains two eyes. You have seed potatoes when they start growing eyes.

Let the cut pieces sit for a day while their cut surfaces dry.

Next, plant the potatoes with eyes by pushing them down into the soil just far enough so they’re covered - and dampen the soil.

In only a few days you should find little plants sprouting through the soil. Each time these sprouts grow a couple of inches, cover with potting soil or a mixture of hummus and water your crop. The new potatoes form above their parent eye so eventually you'll have a trash can full of potatoes.

You can plant about six or eight potatoes in one garbage can.

As the potato plant grows a bit, continue adding soil an inch or so each time, but as the plants get to the top of the bag or trash can, let the potato plants grow uncovered.

When soil is near the top, mound it so the center is higher and the sides slope down to a few inches below the rim of the trash can.

That allows you to water your patio potato garden.

The idea is that you now have six or eight potato plants with long shoots growing and producing potatoes in the dirt in the trash can.

The more roots the potatoes have, the more potatoes they produce.

Early potatoes like Swift can provide you a crop in about seven weeks. Other kinds of potatoes longer, 10 - 12 weeks.

The genius of growing potatoes this way is that you can grow them on a sunny patio or porch or deck, without needing a yard or garden area. Potato plants do need to get 8-10 (or more) hours of sunlight, as any other summer garden plant.


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