Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Great Potato Experiment

So we're trying an experiment this year.  We're attempting to grow potatoes in a cheap laundry basket.  Mom's garden club was at Natorp's on Wednesday, and the guy who spoke talked about growing potatoes in a tub or basket and said a laundry basket was great with kids because they grow out the sides.  So I bought 2 cheap laundry baskets from the dollar store, and 2 seed potatoes from The Feed Barn this morning (love The Feed Barn, Gravel Knoll Farms and the WC Farmer's Market, gotta get that in here), for a total investment of $2.84, including taxes.

We cut up the potatoes into 3-4 pieces (they were pretty large potatoes) with 2-3 eyes each.  Then we put about 2" of old potting soil mixed w/ compost in the bottom of the basket, put in the pieces of potato & covered them with more soil/compost, watered and are waiting to see.  As they grow, we will gradually cover with more soil/compost until the basket is full, like "hilling" potatoes.  I also have 1 potato plant I bought already started from Varnau's on West Chester Rd (also love that place, so I thought I'd put it in as well), which I also planted
in a large patio pot.  So this is our "potato experiment".  If I had thought of it before we planted the potatoes, I'd have drilled a hole in the center of each laundry basket, as there is about 1-2" of the bottom where the sides come up where water could puddle and it's kind of close to where we put the potato pieces in.

I had read that you shouldn't use fresh compost on root vegetables as excess nitrogen triggers leaf production vs. root production, but the guy at Natorp's specifically said compost so we're seeing what happens.  I'm fairly content to experiment when the cost is $2.84 (our old potting soil & compost were free from our compost bin and the patio pot I put the potatoes in).

I'll post pics as the experiment comes along.

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