Trashcan Potatoes

clairtx(z8 TX)May 7, 2011

Here are two pictures of potatoes I am growing in a tall kitchen garbage can. One was taken in April and I took the second one today. They grow in the can til harvest time, then dump them out and harvest.

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How cool! I'm guessing you just kept adding dirt since planting. When did you first plant them? And, do you have drainage holes?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 2:39PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

That's a neat idea!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 4:09PM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

Awww that's kind of cute. I wonder if a laundry basket (lots of good drainage) would work too.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 9:12PM
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clairtx(z8 TX)

Ann, that's what I thought too, but the video I saw online just said to put some rocks in the bottom for drainage, add 12 inches of dirt, then the seed potatoes, and two more inches on top of that. We did drill holes all away around the sides and bottom of the can first. You need the tall can to contain the potato vine inside the can. As it grow, you just make sure the vines stay inside the can.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:07PM
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clairtx(z8 TX)

I have to amend my last post because I just watched the video on you tube, and it did say to add more dirt as the vines grow so potatoes will grow along the vine, so I will need to add dirt to mine tomorrow. We planted these in late march, and yes there are drain holes we had to drill all around the bottom of the can.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:32PM
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clairtx(z8 TX)

Well, I went outside this morning and added more dirt to my trashcan, and a little fertilizer to boost things along. I now have the dirt up to about 6 inches from the top of the can.
So, I might have some little potatoes growing along the vines now before harvest time. Next year I am going to buy a bunch of 5 gallon paint cans and plant one or two seed potatoes in each one. This guy on the you tube video did that and got an average of one pound for each seed potato he planted.
The paint cans make it easier to harvest the potatoes also. You can just up-end the can into a wheelbarrow, then re-use the dirt again.
I am beating the subject to death I know, but I am so fascinated by this after watching videos of people doing this here and in England that I just had to share with all of you.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:47AM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I actually have 5 gal pots I use for gardening. Btw, if you can dump out the 5 gal pails,why can't you dump the trashcans too?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 6:34PM
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clairtx(z8 TX)

You can dump the trashcans, but you would need a bigger wheelbarrow to save the dirt to use again. The bigger the can, the heavier it would be to lift and dump. There is also the garbage sack method of growing potatoes, using the heavy duty black sacks. You would probably need more room to use those, but instead of drilling holes in a can, you can poke holes with a sharp pen in the garbage sack for drainage.
The reason I got intrigued by the idea is that I have limited space for a garden in my yard, and I liked the idea of growing potatoes in cans. I have a large patio that runs along the back of the house, so I can line the cans up on the patio.
I like the idea of re-using the dirt so long as you have the proper mix for growing the potatoes. Dirt is expensive and the whole idea of gardening should be to save money.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:15PM
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shebear(z8 NCentralTex)

Stop right there. The reason for growing vegetables is not to save money. It's to know the quality of the food you eat. In order to grow good quality food you have to spend money (or have a real working farm) on your soil. Reusing soil for the same crop opens you up to all kinds of soil disease issues.

I'm not sure where this concept of cheap food from growing your own came from but it's a falsehood. On a real working farm it appears to be cheaper because very few outside resources are brought in but that's because the real cost is labor. The farmer works 24/7. The cost of labor isn't cheap but it's masked so much that anyone who isn't a farmer assumes farming is cheap. That labor is why most people who try to grow food don't do very well. They refuse to see that it requires constant maintenance. Once they realize that, then they usually say "it's cheaper to buy it". The reason food is cheap now is because farms are automated and chemicaled to death. Sure you get "food" but it's not all that tasty and I wonder about the nutritional value. Trust me that the things we buy in grocery stores are not nearly as good as food grown in good soil and just picked.

Alright.....I'm getting off my soapbox now. Sorry about that.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 7:25AM
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clairtx(z8 TX)

I must admit I'm not a purist, but I do enjoy the taste of homegrown tomatoes. I will research the dirt issue. Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 8:53AM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

Don't try to grow anything in a black plastic bag in Texas. It will totally solarize (cook). You can however put the old soil you use in a black bag (in the sun for best results) to remove disease. Throw in some kitchen scraps for good measure too. It works like a charm.
As for price I haven't done a study so I'm not sure on this. I do part of my irrigation now with rainwater. I have almost finished my retention pond. Next I will be adding gutters with rainbarrels to save ALL my water for watering. I do buy some soil but half is home made compost from leaves and kitchen scraps. It is a million times better than any commercial potting soil. If a person is willing to put the cost and time into a sustainable situation food production, especially from seed, is quite cost effective. At least use drip lines instead of overhead watering. Any set up for business requires hard work. Thinking about even a small suburban homestead as a weekend thing is foolishness. Business is business and work is work if you're making money. That said, the local produce markets are quite lucrative! People are sick of grocery store crap produce. Folks want real tomatoes, onions (so bad I thought I hated onions for years), and just all around bland,bruised trash that I don't see as cheap at all! I save money every week buying local, mostly organic, produce. The folks that sell it can hardly keep up with the demand. So I've decided to grow local produce for sale. If all else fails I'll can it and eat it myself :)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 11:01AM
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I saw potatoe planting bags. They were green, looked like BIG shopping bags and had a "door" on the bottom. Seems to me it was rather like the "door" on the bottom of a compost bin. The whole thing was really like a shopping tote bag, only round and rather barrel like. I don't remember how much it cost.

I have taters growing in one end of my concrete block raised bed. It's 2 block tall. I need to add more soil. But what I did was dug out the soil in troughs, planted the taters, covered. Kept pushing soil over the stems then started adding by shovel full.

I know that when it comes time to dig them out I will wish I had a trash can! I may end up removing the cinder blocks to get those babies!

gardening is just plain fastinating!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 1:35PM
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I have lots of these in the yard- I started them in Feb, several varieties, and I have some that I have harvested already- so awesome. I have given lots away to friends as well. What an awesome gift.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 8:40AM
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