I read an article awhile back about how you could grow lots of potatoes in a small space by going vertical in a box. I thought, “I like potatoes. I should try it out.”
The basic idea is to plant the spuds in a frame like the one pictured below and let the plant grow to about a foot high. Then you add more planks to the sides and fill in dirt, covering the plant partially. The plant then grows higher and you add a plank and bury more it and so on. The potatoes will supposedly grow in the layers that you have buried.
Here is the article link. The photo below is from their page.
Since I didn’t have a 4’x4′ space in full sun to build this, I changed the measurements. Here is the space before that was empty after I moved the hydrangea that used to live here.
Mine is somewhere around 2’x2′ I think. TB was kind enough to build this for me out of wood we had left over in the yard. He cut all the side pieces at once so we wouldn’t have to worry about doing it later. He also attached all of the pieces on the back wall since we wouldn’t be able to get to it later.
You will notice that I have stapled chicken wire on the left and right sides. This is because our Opie thinks digging is very fun. It’s even more fun when you can eat what you did up. In fact there were holes in this very spot when I came out to plant the potatoes today. The chicken wire will allow sun to get to the plants but not Opie. Since I want to be able to get in to weed I didn’t staple chicken wire across the front. I figured I would make a removable gate or something tonight. It is now occuring to me that I am in fact tall enough to reach over the mesh since it’s only a few feet high so staples across the front would work. You see I’m not used to being “tall enough” for much. (The thing blocking the front now is a foldable tomato cage unfolded)
After the sides were secure it was on to planting. These guys love, love compost so I made sure we mixed a bunch in the soil. I had read that grocery store potatoes are sprayed with stuff to make them not sprout and to use seed potatoes from the garden center. The ones I found were russet potatoes, not my favorite but good enough for this little experiment. The seed potatoes have to sprout “eyes” before planting which mine did while still in the bag. I had read you could cut them into pieces to plant more, you just had to make sure they had 2-3 eyes on each piece. Since mine were small I didn’t bother and just planted them whole.
Here is what the seed potatoes look like before planting.
After realizing I only now had four and used to have five seeds, I went searching to find one laying in the grass. Opie was “helping” by taking one for a taste test. Apparently they are pretty gross since there was no damage done. I planted them about 3-5 inches deep then watered a bit. That’s it.
I have no idea if this will actually work. We shall see.