Potato Box Experiment

I tried something today I’d been meaning to do since I started gardening. Potato plants, when you bury their stems send out more underground growth that will eventually form tubers under the right conditions. Gardeners have taken advantage of this characteristic to get more tubers from a plant by growing them in everything from barrels which they gradually fill with soil to bottomless bags that are unrolled and filled as the potato gets taller. Fancy boxes with removable boards are also constructed that allow the grower to open the bottom and remove potatoes from the bottom of the plant.

I wasn’t interested anything that complicated so I just constructed a small box out of some scrap cedar I had laying around. It’s about 16” square and 7.25” tall.

Potato Box Next, I selected a potato plant that is a good candidate for this treatment. One of the anonymous red-skinned varieties we are growing looked good and vigorous.

Potato Plant To fill the box I collected some partially composted leaves from the community pile and then mixed in some horse manure/straw compost. The idea is to keep the mix fairly light so when it comes time to harvest we’ll just lift the box off and sift through the mix.

Compost I placed the box around the plant and even managed not to break off any branches. The leaves were left on rather than trying to decide how far up the stem I needed to remove them. Once in place the box was filled with the compost mix and watered into place.

Potato Box Done I’m looking forward to seeing how this works and may even try it on another plant.

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