Thursday, November 22, 2012

Potatoes in a Pot

    Gardening is part of my prep work.  I want to know how to replace the things I need through my own effort.

     All I wanted was a fresh potato.  I wanted to grow my own this year.  I had some information about container growing and I wanted to try it.  Six weeks after setting aside my potatoes for seeding, they still had not sprouted eyes!  I had bought these potatoes two months before.  I tried setting them in the ground and watering them and after six more weeks, nothing.  Then I went online and discovered yet another hormone I don’t need.  

    When potatoes are harvested they are sent to a processing area to be washed, rinsed and bagged for shipping.  During that process they are sprayed with a hormone that stops the potato from growing.  This is to keep the potato in a state of “good looks” as it prohibits the sprouting of eyes.   My eyes squeeze shut and I say, "great!" with such a deadly tone.  This is just another chemical used to get $$ in pockets at a cost of human health no one has calculated!  

     Yeah, just great!  This hormone also inhibits the sprouting of eyes so well, you can’t grow potatoes from home without buying seed potatoes from a feed store.   To side step yet another hormone you don’t need in your body, I suggest you buy organic or from a farmers market and get the potatoes with dirt on them.

     I went to the feed store and got myself some seed potatoes.  This is Florida; I am three months behind on an experiment that should be near its end.  I pout.

     Here is the experiment.  From a friend I heard a tale of a man who grew all his potatoes in five gallon buckets.  He cut a hole in the side about 7” in diameter just below the half way point.  He used coconut cloth (the stuff in window box planters) to line the bucket on the hole side.  He filled the bucket with soil, nothing bought, just good earth.  He planted his potatoes and when he thought they were ready or he wanted one, he pulled back the cloth, reached in and pulled out potatoes for dinner, leaving the top growth intact to let the smallest potatoes grow in to size.  I thought, cool!

     I prepped three buckets that I had cut a ‘flap’ in.  My flap is a three sided cut in a clean unused five gallon bucket that is cut from bottom to top across the top to bottom.  It measures 9” by 5”.  I have lined the bucket with burlap and added soil.  I am using a spent bungee cord to keep the flap closed.  I plan to cut the burlap down the center when I harvest so I can get my hand in without all the soil falling out.  I think it will work.  I have planted two areas of potatoes, one in an area of my front garden and the other in the containers.  It is now a race to the table to see which produces more per square foot.  I will post the results when harvest happens. 

     I saw a potato planter in the garden department at Wal-Mart near the Topsy Turvy planters.  It cost about $15 and is made of the same plastic as the Topsy Turvy's tomato planters.  It is rectangular and has a pull down Velcro-ed side.  It looks like a mess in the making. I like the use of five gallon buckets.  Buckets have handles.  These buckets will last for years, can be "planted in the ground and stop all chance of weed invasion or potato escape.

     I will get good drainage from the bucket planters from the side flap slits yet, if it gets dry, I can bungee them tight and retain the water.  I have high hopes for this method so I look forward to uploading actual pictures of fresh veggies. 

Note: After weeks of growth, I have added a wrap of chicken wire 18” high and secured with two zip ties.  I built up the base of the plants with a thick layer of hay as mulch.  The plants are OVER sized.  The wire supports the plants and they are blooming madly!

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