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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Potatoes in a Can: Some Harvest!

Potatoes dumped out in the shape of the can.
Now that the growing season is starting to wind down, the potatoes were ready to harvest. Excited to see the yield, I dumped the can over onto a tarp. I immediately saw several large potatoes and a lot of roots around the perimeter of the molded soil. What I ended up with was less than exciting though; only 8.5 pounds of the spuds, total. That will last us a couple of months at most.

The idea of this experiment was to grow potatoes in a way that you don't end up damaging them during the digging out process. Plus, I didn't want to use other traditional stacking methods such as old tires which contain all sorts of nasty chemicals or wood which is heavier to move and not as convenient. So, with that said, I've decided to give it a whirl next season with a few adjustments.

The yield doesn't look promising.
First, I'm going to plant a little earlier, add more compost and still fertilize with some bone meal. Second, when I add more soil to keep up with the growth, I'm going to add a few more seed potatoes to the mix, to maximize the number of plants I can squeeze into the can.

I have to admit, it was a slick system for harvest. After picking out all the potatoes, I simply discarded the greens into the compost and then scooped the soil back into the can and put the lid on. Nice and neat. We need all the help we can get in that department. I figure I can get another use out of the potting soil mix which was an investment. And I might get some more potatoes out of it, as many of the roots and perhaps some microscopic seeds remain.

Not as much as I had hoped.
In the mean time, there's an explosion of tomatoes, another nightshade family crop. I'll be freezing some sauce and drying skins for concentrated tomato seasoning. You can read about that technique here.

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