I should probably just start a column titled, “Letters from Dad About Gardening” or something witty like that. But this note from him was too good not to pass on.
If you are considering potatoes, you might try this. I have never done it this way, but supposedly it works. Grandpa Berger used to grow them in a big compost bin type contraption. The only difference is you probably want to plant them in mid February at the latest in Austin. I usually shoot for end of January. They will be ready in May before the really hot weather hits. Seed potatoes are usually available at garden centers or better yet at Feed and Seed stores on the edge of town. You can buy a couple pounds for a couple dollars. Sometimes potatoes from the [grocery] store are treated so they will not germinate at the eyes, so make sure to buy seed potatoes. Dad
Anyway, here is the article:
Growing Potatoes in Containers
Q. I don’t have room to grow potaoes in the ground, but have heard they can be grown in containers. How do I do that?
A. Potato towers are an easy and fun way to grow potatoes in containers without taking up precious garden space. Here’s how. Find a spot in your yard with full sun. Ideally, the spot will also be near a water outlet. Make a cylinder that’s 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide out of chicken wire, heavy gage wire, or even wooden fencing. Set the cage in the sunny location and secure the ends of the cage with wire fasteners. Line the inside of the cage with hay, straw, cardboard, or newspaper to prevent the soil from falling out and put a 4-inch-deep layer of compost In the bottom of the cylinder. Place 4 or 5 seed potatoes containing at least 3 “eyes” on top of the compost, spaced 6 inches apart. Cover the potatoes with a 3- to 4-inch-deep layer of soil. Water well.
As the potato plants grow, cover them with more compost. When the soil line is 6 inches from the top of the cage, stop adding soil and let the potato plants keep growing out the top of the cylinder. Keep well watered. In late summer, when the plants start to yellow, remove the the wire fasteners and open the cage — the potatoes will come pouring forth.
As I read over at Carla’s blog, Natural Gardener will have seed potatoes in 2-3 weeks. I think I may try this since I’m not terribly sure of the quality of my ground space yet. And it sounds like a fun excuse to tinker.