Saturday, February 19, 2011

Debunking Potato Boxes: Are they a waste of time and money?

In August of last year (2010) I put up this short post:

Here is my own garden in a rare appearance. Actually, I need to give all of the credit to my husband as he has done most of the work this year. I wanted to put up a photo of his potato box which he built this spring. So far it has looked perfectly successful with large foliage and no disease. This photo was taken about a month ago and so two more levels of wood have been added since then.

All summer long our box looked picture perfect. But, we were in for a big surprise and disappointment at harvest time:

No potatoes!!!

We have a friend in our town who also did their first potato box last summer and only got a few tiny potatoes out of it.

Then, last week, I got this comment here on this blog (from Crevo) underneath the potato box post:

How did your potato box work out? I've heard mostly disaster stories, and was curious to find someone who has done it successfully.

We are wondering if all of the potato plant's energy goes towards foliage in potato boxes, and none towards producing potatoes. This coming season we are going to try it again but only in a very short version, not to exceed 1-1.5 feet in height. Please leave a comment if you have any experience, good or bad, with potato boxes.
Kay McDonald

1 comment:

  1. I've had mixed success with growing potatoes in containers. But much better and more consistent success with growing them in large raised beds (10-12 in. deep). I personally think that they don't like to be too contained. A friend who grows them commercially recommends growing them with lots of composted leaf mulch. It's a nice loose mixture which potatoes really like.

    Despite the appeal of growing potatoes vertically, I don't think it's the most efficient method. Most of the potatoes end up in the first 12-18 inches of soil anyway. I don't think anything is gained by going much deeper.

    Good luck!