Sunday, April 12, 2009

Growing Potatoes in a Garbage Can

Thanks Myrnie for this tip! We will be trying this.

Ciscoe's To-do List: Grow potatoes in a garbage can

By CISCOE MORRIS
SPECIAL TO THE P-I

Growing spuds in a garbage can is fun, and it's something you can do to get your kids interested in gardening. Any clean plastic garbage can will work. Drill at least four 1/2-inch holes in the bottom for good drainage and fill the bottom 6 inches deep with houseplant potting soil. Mix in slow-release fertilizer, or feed every two weeks with high-phosphorus, soluble houseplant fertilizer. Buy starter potatoes at a nursery, and plant them whole, 5 inches apart, just under the soil surface and water them in. The vines will soon begin to grow and as soon as they reach 4 inches tall, cover all but 1 inch of the lowest vine with compost, wood chips or potting soil. Continue to cover the vines in this way until they grow out of the top of the garbage can. Once the vines bloom, you can reach in and pick the biggest spuds you can find. These are new potatoes and they won't store, but they are delicious for that evening's dinner. Wait to do the main harvest until vines die back completely in fall. You never know what you'll get. My champion harvest was 42 softball-size Yukon Golds. Then for some reason, the next year I planted the same variety and got exactly 9,347,012 spuds smaller than pingpong balls.

I've got an idea to get two cans, one for us, and one for the food pantry. Gardeners, plant a row for the poor.

I'll be trying out these Red Pontiac Potato 2 Pounds Organic Certified Seed Tubers from Hirts Garden.

8 comments:

Myrnie said...

Have fun! Hands down the easiest vegetables I ever grew :)

. said...

This is quite amazing. I think I should try.

Debbie J. said...

Seed potatoes are sold out in my area! My brother had to use regular potatoes from Walmart.

I posted a picture of a white iris. Come see.

Elizabeth G. said...

Okay, this looks really interesting...What size garbage can are you talking about? A small one, like one would use in one room in a house, or a huge garbage can for outside? Also does more than one potato grow from a single seed potato?

I'm thinking of doing container gardening this year, because we want to try and move into another house.

Thanks for this cool idea!
Elizabeth (Should I ask Myrnie all of this?)

Alexandra said...

Elizabeth, I think you use a regular sized outdoor garbage can, but not the huge ones. Walmart has some that are inexpensive. I bought one for our water barrel last year. To be sure, I'd ask Myrnie.

Alexandra said...

Debbie, I'll come over...I couldn't find any seed potatoes around here. We are trying store potatoes as well.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Well, I think I just found a use for all the moss we get here in the PacNW - rather than buying straw, mulch, or more dirt - I am combing moss out of what is left of my lawn and using that to mound the potatoes in my garbage can. The only downside I can see is that my 'grass' is not going to be as green this year. Can anyone think of a real downside? Maybe you can rent your kids out to remove moss from your neighbors yards (I actually mean they can earn some money this summer) so you can get paid 2 ways to grow them.

G said...

Well, the potatoes are up over the top of the garbage can and have the dirt almost all the way up to the top. Some were trying to flower so I pinched them off - I was gone for the first 2 weeks this June so I want to get potatoes all the way to the top. We shall see.