I was sent so many great potato growing ideas after my last blog, Growing Potatoes in a Bag, I decided to share a few alternatives to using grow bags.
A little chicken wire, straw and soil and you have yourself a potato tower – and a great discussion piece when friends come over.
Common Sense Homesteading shares their how-to and great photos to get you started with potato towers.
This option may require more frequent watering because the water will seep through the straw quickly. If you give this a try, be sure to check the soil moisture often.
As they say in the blog, don’t use hay which has seeds in it, use straw so you don’t end up with weeds.
Growing in Old Tires
I’ve had some people ask me about growing in old tires. I’ve never tried it because I question the toxicity. It’s a personal preference, though I would suggest finding an alternative if you can.
An article in Mother Earth News talks about toxicity of tires. “Short-term, yes, tire planters are OK, although the soil in black tire planters will probably get hotter than most plants would prefer. Long-term, no, because the tire rubber will slowly biodegrade and release zinc, carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic Tire Planteraromatic hydrocarbons) and other toxic compounds into your garden soil.”
Growing in a Box
Growing potatoes using a card board box would be a fun garden experiment, especially with kids.
I suggest lining the box with landscape cloth or even newspaper (black & white) to slow the breakdown of the cardboard.
When the growing season is over, you can toss the cardboard into the compost. If you tear it up into small pieces it will breakdown much faster.
I found this article about using a wood box on the Rodale’s Organic Life website. The author used reclaimed pallets and screwed sideboards onto the structure as the potatoes grew and he added soil.
This is a nice option because you can remove the bottom board to access potatoes during the growing season. It does seem more labor intensive than the other options mentioned.
I’m a partial to grow bags because it’s what I’ve used in the past and have had really good luck. I wrote an article about my experience using potato bags which you can read here: Growing Potatoes in a Bag.
It’s an easy process to grow in the bags, but just be sure to keep the extra soil around that you’ll need to top off the potatoes as they grow.
I also like the bags because I can move them around the garden. Last year I started them too close to my tomato plants and they were shaded half way through the summer. It was easy to just pick it up an move it to another, sunnier location in the garden.
I’ve only featured a few ways to grow potatoes, but there are so many other options. Just check Pinterest and you’ll see what I mean!
I’d love to hear your favorite growing method! You can share your photos on my Facebook page, NH Garden Girl. Now all we need is warmer weather so we can get digging!