Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Potato Buckets

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
-Dale Carnegie 

I have wanted to grow potatoes for a long time. As in, many, many, many years.  I want to grow fabulous heirloom, rare, unusual, odd colored potatoes.  Until this year, I have not had the space in whatever garden I had to grow them.  During my garden research for this year, I looked at quite a few versions of the potato tower.  An easy way to grow potatoes out of the ground. Easy to water, easy to harvest. No brainer. 

There are "bags" you can buy that fit the bill. But, they were too expensive for me.  There are plenty of DIY's out there using everything from buckets to bamboo mats. There is a lot of debate about growing them entirely in straw, or straw lined with dirt/compost, or straw bottomed with dirt, or layering of all of it. I went with buckets as that is what I already have, and in abundance.  All the bucket DIY's say to use 5 gal buckets, but I happen to have 3.5 gal.  So, we will see...


I started with 6 buckets and drilled holes in the bottom for drainage. This, for some reason took way longer than I had anticipated, and made worse by a dying battery.  But finally, they were all drilled and ready to go.


I had in mind for some months now, to get some seed potatoes from a local feed store that is close to my house.  I get my hay and chicken feed there already, and they had seed potatoes for 2.19 lb.  Then, when I went to buy them (likely cause it is now July), they were half price! So, I bought  about 4 lbs of 3 different varieties, all organic, for about $4.50.

Organic Cal Whites

Organic Kennebecs

I added a layer of straw into the bottom of each bucket and placed in the seed potatoes. Then, I added a compost/soil mix.  As the potatoes grow, I will add in more soil, like traditional "hilling".  A very cool benefit of bucket growing is that when you are ready to harvest, you simply dump the bucket out and pick up your taters.  I am growing these in my front yard where they can get more sun.  In the back, they would have to be in the fenced off garden or my chickens would surely get at them.

Straw Bed

All nestled in

I had read that a pound of seed potato will yield 7-10 lbs of tubers. I don't know that I will get that much due to the smaller space, but, who knows? This is surely an experiment.  I may not even get a pound, but I will get a better understanding of growing potatoes, and that is worth every penny and ounce of sweat to me. I am excited that I finally got some planted.  I have no idea why I waited so long.  I supposed it seemed overwhelming or to space intensive before. It is my intention to "put on" all those things I have "put off" for the right timimg/circumstance/money/etc, etc, etc...  Potatoes, check.

Food totals:

10 lbs cherries
8 oz beans
1 lb 2 oz strawberries
5 lbs 2 oz carrots
6 oz onions

483 lbs to goal

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