Saturday, July 23, 2011
My failed potato experiment
I was very excited when I read this website about growing 100 lbs of potatoes in 4 square feet.
I built to boxes & got started. Potatoes are cheap, filling, easy to cook in the solar oven. We especially like ours with Alpine Spice. http://www.alpinetouch.com/shop.html Super yummy!
I tried it first last spring. I had large, beautiful potato plants, & had added 2 layers of boards. I was using grass clipping & was excited. One by one they went from healthy plants, to completely dead in a few hours. The stalks came off just below the grass clippings & were slimy & smelly. I thought I'd gotten some sort of disease. I asked experts & no one knew what happened.
So I tried it again in a different spot this spring. The same thing happened again. They weren't quite as slimy & smelly, & I did get them to 3 levels, but again my beautiful potato plants died. I was so discouraged! I couldn't think of a cheaper way to get lots of potatoes to store for the winter! And I'm not sure what to try different.
My brother is trying the same thing with dirt in the layers instead of grass. We're wondering if the grass starts to rot & the potatoes were too tall to resist it, so rotted too. But I don't really know. If my brother's dirt method works I'll try that; although finding enough dirt to fill the boxes is tricky. I've also wondered about mixing dirt & grass, to make it more stable but require less dirt. His plants aren't nearly as tall as mine was, & have gone to blossom now. I'll post in the end how it works for him. I'd really love to find a solution, because taking less space to grow lots of potatoes could be a lifesaver!