Planting Potatoes

If you take a look around, there are more than enough ways to plant potatoes the “easy” way. Perhaps this is because of how much of a pain it is to grow potatoes the traditional way. Dig a trench. Put the potato pieces in the trench. Bury the potatoes with light, rich soil. Wait for the potatoes to grow some. Add more dirt. Wait. Add dirt. Now dig them all up, without missing any because if you do they will grow back with a vengeance next year.

pot2Personally, I love digging them up and don’t mind them coming back next year. Having another crop next year is apparently bad because using this method causes disease to spread. You cannot possibly produce your own seed potato because then the people who sell seed potato couldn’t sell them to you. I plan to try to reuse the small potatoes as seed potatoes next year. If everything is healthy, I don’t see how disease would spread.

Either way, I have enough digging to do as it is and am not interested in digging trenches in this awful clay. I have tried growing potatoes in hay in mounds and this lead to infestation. The next method to try, for me, in the potato cage method. I’m not sure that it is much better than the mounds, but I will have to wait and see.pot8

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spread out nicely

I took leftover chicken wire and hooked the ends together to make circles. The bottom was filled with rotten sticks and leaves and then covered over with soil. Once they had a chance to get rained on and to settle in, I added the cut up potato pieces that had been sitting since I built the cages. I covered the potato pieces with a soil and rotten leaf mixture, being careful not to throw in too many sticks. Sticks could stack up in ways that would lead to air pockets that critters could live in. You will have to continue filling up the cages as the potatoes grow, just like you would traditionally do.

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The kids helping

Once the potato plants die off, you can dig up the potatoes. The awesome part is that you can just tip over the cages and sift through to get the goods. You won’t have to dig deep in the ground with your back hunched over awkwardly picking through the dirt. In theory, of course. I will let you all know when it comes time to harvest.

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Moist soil layer
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Composting leaves layer
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Finished potato planters, for now

Some potato planting links to check out:

 

Grow a Good Life

Other potato posts I have done:

In a rush potato planting

(these ended up being forgotten and still grew a few potatoes)

How not to store potatoes

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Looks like an interesting idea, I hope it works out for you.
We always keep the smaller potatoes for seed the next year and store them in out root cellar, you can sort out any disease when you store them and again before you plant them. We plant the potatoes whole once they have started to sprout.
I always do some early spuds, about 20 plants, by digging a whole about 8 inches deep, dropping in a potato and covering back up with a small mound (you can never get all the dirt back in the hole 🙂 ) I never have to mound them up and they will get through a frost as long as the leaves haven’t come through. Nice and easy 🙂

I do a similar thing using very large planting containers. At the end of the season, I can tip it into a wheelbarrow and pick out the potatoes that way. However, I don’t save any for seed. I end up eating them!

Also, consider burying the tops back where the wire container was. Or even add some partly finished compost. Gives your spot a kick over the winter, even if the ground freezes.

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