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. 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!


  1. I think the problem is using green grass. When I've read of this method of planting potatoes it is with dry hay. I've also seen a cool potato growing idea that you build upward adding dirt as the plant gets taller. If you email me to remind me, I can look for a link for you.

  2. Could be...I thought about drying the grass, but wouldn't it just get wet again when the potatoes get watered?

  3. to much nitrogene in green grass, burns the plants.

  4. Another vote for green grass here. It's not the wetness of the grass that's the issue but the fact that it's still green grass.

  5. Ok I'm inspired! I'll try it again but dry the grass first! I'd love to get it to work!