Strangely, potatoes often seem to get overlooked when it comes to growing a vegetable garden. Apparently, some are under the impression that there’s really no reason to grow them as they’re fairly inexpensive to buy, and, after all, how much difference can there really be in taste?
But that couldn’t be more wrong. According to the Environmental Working Group, the average potato has been shown to contain more pesticides by weight than any other produce. Plus, those commercially grown spuds can easily be a year old by the time they get to your local supermarket. That’s why when you get them home, they usually last only a few weeks before they start sprouting. So, what you’re eating is a much less than fresh vegetables. But, if you grow your own and store them properly, potatoes can last for months, while still being fresher than those you bought at the store. As with most things, homegrown potatoes really do taste significantly better too.
While potatoes are often thought of as simply a comfort food, they actually offer a lot in the way of nutrition. Just some of their benefits including lowering the risk of cancer, boosting heart health, improving digestion, lowering cholesterol levels, strengthening the immune system, protecting the skin, lowering blood pressure, reducing insomnia and managing diabetes.
Not only that, but it’s fairly easy to grow sacks full of potatoes. And, when it comes to potatoes, it’s hard to have too many as they can be held fresh in a cool spot for months.
Of course, there are many different ways to grow them too, some of which are rather unusual, but they really do work!
An article published in the Seattle Times a few years back discussed growing a whopping 100 pounds of potatoes in just four square feet. While the original has disappeared, thankfully, many other sites, like ApartmentTherapy.com, picked up on it, and this method has really been taking off.
All you need for this technique is some lumber, seed potatoes, gardening soil, and of course, plenty of love and care. The guide for building it can be found here, and is shown below as well.
The recommended planting time is anywhere as early as April, and as late as August 1st, and it takes about three months before harvest. A few tips for utilizing this technique include:
Growing potatoes in a trash bag is practically a foolproof way to grow potatoes and it only takes a few easy steps to do it.
You can also use commercial grow bags, which are made from heavy, dense polypropylene. While they are a little more expensive than trash bags, they typically last for several growing seasons.
To use them, just place a few inches of a soil-compost mixture in the bottom of a bag, then plant four seed potato pieces. Cover them up with three inches of soil. Continue adding soil as the potato plants grow until the bag is completely filled. To harvest, all you have to do is turn the bag on its side and dump out the contents. Considering the relatively small space, the yield is usually quite impressive.
This method is one of the easiest around if you’ve got some room in your garden. All you have to do is place your seed potatoes on the surface of prepared garden soil, about 8 to 12 inches apart. You can cut the larger ones if you want to, but it’s not necessary. Now, cover them with three to four inches of loose straw. Once the stems grow to about 8 inches tall, add a little more straw. Continue to do so until the plants are around 3 feet high and you’ve got a layer of at least one foot of depth. When the tops start to die off, it’s time to harvest.
Using this technique is particularly beneficial as the thick mulch works to conserve soil moisture while smothering any weeds. When it comes to harvesting, it’s practically effortless, with no digging required. This method is also recommended for thwarting the Colorado potato beetle.
Potatoes are so easy to grow, they really can be grown in almost anything. Not only will a trash bag work, but so will a 5 to 10-gallon bucket. Five-gallon buckets are ideal, as you can easily start them indoors and then transport them back and forth between the outdoors and in, depending on the weather.
First, gather your supplies:
You can also grow potatoes easily using a piece of wire stock fence rolled into a cage, it takes a very minimal amount of effort.
All you need is:
More and more people are using old tires for growing all sorts of things, including potatoes. All you have to do is wash them thoroughly to remove any road grime first. It’s a great, eco-friendly way to re-purpose any tires you might have hanging around in the garage or your yard. If you have room for a car tire placed flat on the ground, you can grow four to five potato plants that produce lots of potatoes. All you need is soil, seed potatoes, and tires.