Vertical potato box final update

Well I can't say that my experiment with my vertical potato box was a failure.  I can say that I will have to try a different approach next year.  You can find my series of updates here.

Things I learned:

1.  My fill needed more compost and dirt.
2.  The potatoes growing out of the side of the box faired better than the ones growing straight through.

I decided over the weekend it was time to tear apart my potato box.  The plants were starting to die off and any day it could snow.  It is Iowa after all.

This is a top view of the box. 

As you can see, the once lush plants have died off.

I tugged at one of the plants and this came out.  I see that fill did work a little in that potatoes were growing the entire length of the plant.

However they were fairly nasty looking.
So I started to dig, and dig and dig.  
Only to find nothing but a portion of a Hershey bar wrapper.

And then it appeared. Towards the bottom of the pile I found a potato!

And another one!

Some of the potatoes were small but some were what I would consider a fairly good size.
In the end, I didn't get the 100 lbs that I was hoping for but for a $2 experiment, I will certainly try this again next year. 

In regards to Wilsons experiment, I haven't heard how his has turned out but promise to update as soon as I do.

8 Responses
  1. Erin Says:

    I'm wondering if the climate this year had something to do with it - 2 years ago I had great success growing in straw cages, this year, pretty sad harvest. It seems many people experienced the same this year?

  2. Quite possibly Erin. I don't think I had enough nutrients in the box though. My potato bed seemed to produce a normal amount so who knows. do you have a post on your straw cages? I would be interested to see how you did it.

  3. Erin Says:

    I just wrap chicken wire into about 4 ft tall cages (about 4 ft wide) and fill with straw as the potatoes grow! there is a small area in the bottom that I scoop compost in to bury the initial planting, but that is really only about a 5 gallon buckets worth of soil, otherwise the entire thing is straw. Potatoes come out very clean! This is a Scandinavian method.

  4. Do the plants come out the side? Do you cover the leaves completely?

  5. meemsnyc Says:

    I planted potatoes in the ground and even though the plants were nice and healthy, the harvest was not so much. This is a good experiment though, lots to learn from.

  6. Erin Says:

    No sides Frugal, they can't make it out the chicken wire!

  7. LOL Erin!!! I am sooo not with it today! Thank you!

  8. Wow! I came across your blog today and for the first time in my life I thought of owning such a cage system. The larger potato seemd quite goood ... French fries or curry; whatever but I need to make a similar syatem soon
    Good work pal!

I would love to hear from you!