I plan to grow potatoes in a tall plastic garbage barrel this year. (The
barrel has a drain hole in the bottom and a series of 2-3 inch diameter
holes in its sides.) I was disappointed with last year's results so I
pose the following questions to the group:
Do I correctly assume that watering requirements are greater when
growing vertically like this? Is there some technique that helps retain
moisture for this type of planting?
As the plants grow, should I fill the barrel with more soil, or should I
use straw/leaves instead, or some layered combination thereof?
How much of the tops of the growing plants should I leave exposed as I
fill in, or do you just bury them completely as they grow?
How quickly should I fill in? IOW will the harvest be less if the stalks
are exposed to air and sun for more than some particular amount of time?
My problem ws too much water. It caused everyting to rot and die. I used
old tires and the dirt stayed too moist.
My aunt told me that when she was a kid, they planted the seed potatoes, and
then didnt water them. This was in Western Kansas and they didnt get a lot
of rain then either.
You might do a combination of both. As the new tubers form, they will need
some nurishment, although I have heard of them being planted in hay and
producing (until they started finding snakes in there also).
I would leave 2 to 3 inches exposed, unless it is supposed to frost, Then I
would cover them with a lid until the the next day and the danger of
freezing is over.
The harvest will depend upon the nutrition, moisture, and sunshine it
receives. You might start several, do them each differently, and take
notes. Then compare the results and let us know which did best.
Might get too hot if you use a black barrel, and the water requirements
will be reduced, not increased.
An old tried and true method of "tower potatoes" is to use old tires...
Get a stack of tires about 6 or 7 tires tall.
Start with just 2 tires. As the plants grow, add another tire and more
soil until you have them all stacked. This is supposed to produce a lot
more underground stem growth (rhizomes) so increases spud yield.
I've not tried it yet, I just read about it and it made sense. :-)
"My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch." -Jack Nicholson
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