Sunday, April 8, 2012

Potato Bin Update

Potato Bins: 4 layers high  (22 inches) More to go...

Right to left: Yukon Golds, Purple Majesty and Viking Reds
I just wanted to update you all on our "Potato Bin - Grow 100lbs in 4 square feet?" Post.  Things are moving along great.  The potato plants are growing so fast.  I have to add straw to them every day to keep up.  We are now up to 4 bin layers and I am a little behind and need to add a couple more to each. I am surprised how fast they have been growing.  We really haven't watered them much at all.  Though these are planted on top of Hugelkultur beds (requires little the first year and no watering for years after). I'll post soon on how to build a Hugel bed.

First layers of hay
Little straggler.
I anticipate adding 3-4 more layers to these potato bins before they run out of steam.  I will need another bale of hay this next week.  I am exited by their progress so far.  I think next time I will plant them a little further apart, I planted them about 4" apart.  I would push it to 6" or so next time.  As you are adding straw you end up covering up some branches.  It is easy to cover smaller plants if your are not careful.  I also have found that it is better to plant the seed potatoes that are at the same stage of development.  I had some seed potatoes that did not have any eyes sprouted and others with good stout sprouts.  The seed potatoes without sprouts came up but were still weeks behind the others and have been shaded some as they grew and as the hay is added.  It has taken till this last week or so for them to catch up with the first bunch.   If they were all the same, I could have filled in with hay a little more consistently.  I had to have small pockets with no hay for the late comers to catch up.  The hay seems to be working great, it will be very easy to harvest the potatoes in a couple months or so.  We are looking forward to this next fall.  In our area we can plant potatoes twice.

In these beds we also have tomatoes(2 types), scallop summer squash, egg plant, cayenne pepper, amaranth (grain and green) cantaloupe, green onions, Texas blue bonnets.  The bed to the rights is full of beets, onion, butternut squash, tomatoes, marigolds, zinnias and some more blue bonnets.  It is a little hard to see by this picture (most of it is already browned) but we have all of the soil covered in grass clippings to keep moisture in and to give our seeds a head start over the any weeds.
Yukon Golds 2'x2' bin (27"x24" inside), tomato, amaranth and onions to the right.

Purple Majesty.  2'x3' Bin (36"x24" inside)
Viking Red(heat loving) with some Yukon's in the back.  2'x3' Bin (36"x24" inside) Note the occupied Toad House.

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