Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Successes and failures

So those who've been following the blog know that this spring we did two potato experiments.The first one,we built potato "condos" or towers...the idea is that you can grow up to 100 lbs of potatoes in a small area,by adding layers to the tower as the plants grow,adding more soil or growing media,and continuing on until the thing is about 4 foot tall.

WELL....today was harvest day as the tops have died back,so no more potato growth would be expected.So we started removing the layers,and dead plants,and....another layer...and another.....Well,we had stopped well short of the four feet in height,stopping at about 3 feet...we didn't find any potatoes until we got down to the original bottom layer where we started....only then did we come up with roughly 5-7 pounds of potatoes in each of the two towers.....100lbs eh?

What we found here is that the potatoes did not form any higher in the soil than the seed potatoes were planted...

THEN experiment number 2....growing potatoes above the ground in straw.Well,we had to stop due to light loss and mosquitoes,but 5 feet down the row,we've come up with only about 2 pounds of potatoes....What we did find was a LOT of pests....bugs,mice,etc had eaten a lot of the crop,and a large portion of what we did dig up had been damaged in one form or another.I'm guessing right now that we'll end up with less than 10 pounds worth of potatoes in the entire 20 foot row.

All in all I would say both experiments failed drastically,and that most likely to get a dependable harvest,one should probably stick to the old fashioned way,dig a trench,plant them,and then hill around them only once or twice at the most...

But for our time and effort,it's not going to be worth it for us to continue to try and grow potatoes here.The time and energy will be better spent on something that we know will give us a good return.


  1. Yikes! I sure hope my potato condo does better! I don't have space here for traditional trenches, so I need a compact alternative like the condo!

  2. Chris,let me know how yours turns out.But between the two towers and the five feet of straw we dug up yesterday we didn't even fill a five gallon bucket..very disappointed.