Vertical Potato box

My neighbor Wilson and I are experimenting.  Experimenting with vertical potato boxes.  I use the term boxes loosely as he is using a garbage can and I am using an old pallet that I have torn apart.  From what "They" say, you can grow 100 lbs of potatoes in one of these things.  Worth a try I suppose. 

Both of us bought a 5 lb bag of seed potatoes for $2.00.  This is the only cost besides time invested in this experiment.  Otherwise we are reusing left overs that we have around the house.

Wilson is using saw dust some shredded newspapers, dirt and compost to fill his.  He is covering the leaves each time they peak out.  This scares me a little for fear that I would be killing the plant.  He says they are doing just fine but I'm still sceptical.

I am filling mine around the extremely fast growing plants with compost, dirt, old nitrogen filled barn hay, and dried grass clippings.  I fill around the plants as they grow.  Just enough so I can still the green of the plants each time I fill. 

I started this experiment about 4 weeks ago and it didn't take long for the potatoes to take off.  The plants took about 1 week to show their pretty green leaves.  The picture below is at the end of week two.  I know, the box is not pretty.  I admit I didn't measure, but I know you can barely tell.  It is lopsided, has gaps, overall a weird formation.  It is all about function here, not aesthetics.  I used a piece of left over chicken wire for the bottom to allow for drainage and to make it easier to tip the box over towards the end of the season.

Here is the first picture.  Pay no attention to the weeds.

Below is week 2.  Notice weeds are slowly going away.

Again no measuring.  Just a quick and easy cut down the middle of the pallet, pried the board off of the frame, and hammered them on with left over nails.  It actually is quite sturdy despite the primitive assembly.

This was 2 days ago.

I am up to 5 pallet boards in height and it has only been about 4 weeks. My husband cut the top two boards thus the variation in size. I was going for uniform irregularity but this just adds to the character.  So does the left over piece of plywood on the side.  

I am fascinated by its progress and am resisting the urge to take a bottom board off to investigate. 

I don't know if you notice, behind one of my many volunteer tomato plants, that there is a potato plant creeping out the side of the box.  That stinker.

Anyway, I hope to gain a picture of Wilson's experiment as well.  I will share it as soon as I do. 

Frugal Gardener out.
3 Responses

  1. Laura Says:

    Potatoes are so much fun. Your right though, it feels odd the first few time you throw dirt on the emerging plant, but it works! Mine are starting to flower. I'm looking forward to eating them soon!

  2. Ohh Laura I would like to see pics of yours. I know this maybe a silly question but when do you know when to stop adding filling and boards?

I would love to hear from you!