Author Topic: Growing Potatos in Barrels  (Read 19040 times)

Offline MaddoginMass

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #30 on: July 05, 2011, 06:27:49 AM »
A couple weeks ago I planted 4 sweet potato slips in a half barrel.  3 of them made it but we have had such wet weather that one is looking iffy, but does have new growth.  It looks like we are in for a dry spell so hopefully that helps.  We'll see how it goes................

Offline MOVINGTARGET

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2011, 07:39:53 AM »
 I like this idea, I have some old blue barrels I can use, But about how many potato's do you get per barrel, 20-30 or more? I don't want more than I can eat, maybe I'll start a barrel a month. They should take about 2-3 months to grow, after I have 3-4 barrels started I can harvest the first one and then replant it again. I live in Fl. so you can almost grow potato's all year. In the winter if we are going to get a freeze, I might put some barrels full of water on both sides of the potato barrels. The water barrels should warm up in the sun to store heat, then I'll cover them with a tarp at night to keep the heat in, and keep the potato barrels from freezing. The farmers grow potato's in Fl. in the winter, and they don't freeze in the ground, but they might in a barrel without some help. A 55 gal. drum is to big to freeze over night...

Offline Dymmesdale

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2011, 07:21:10 AM »
That is so neat! Iirc, I saw in the urban homestead that you can do this with tires?

Offline beagle76

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2011, 08:21:52 AM »
I can't speak for Florida or the yeilds you will get there. I am in Massachusetts. Last year we planted them late, like late May. We did two barrels. We also had a dry summer. The barrels were not in an area that was easy to water so they sometimes got neglected. So, combining the late planting, dry weather, and neglect on my part, the yeild was disappointing. However, it was about the same as I got from the spuds I planted in the ground.

So, this year we got a much earlier start on the first four barrels. The second four were an after thought. My plan is to post progress and then the harvest. That should give us some idea of whether or not this is worth it. I didn't plant any potatoes in the garden. I didn't even think of a control group until this moment. Oh well..

As for tires, I have given that some thought and was going to try it. But, I was concerned with what, if any,  materials may leach out of the tires into the soil or potatoes. The second issues is that you are stuck with tires to get rid of if you don't want them. I have access to free barrels. All I have to do is drive about 40 minutes each way to get them. It is well worth it to me.

Offline beagle76

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2011, 08:25:37 AM »
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: Don't cover the whole plant! My friend is doing potatoes in barrels and covered the whole plant with compost. They never came back up and when he dug down he found the plants had died back to the potatoes. I had considered trying this but never did. Well, we have the results now, LEAVE SOME GREEN SHOWING! I shoot for four or more inches, but by the time I actually get to it there is usually much more than that and plenty to leave above the compost.

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #35 on: July 12, 2011, 11:27:50 PM »
Quick thought.  I'm going to put "rails/tracks" that sit on top of the potato barrels & run between each barrel.  I'm hoping to do some bag & container gardening on those tracks.  The tracks at barrel height would be a convenient height to garden at.  I intend to use six barrels with tracks and see how much I can grow.  Hope it works.

Deer will be my challenge, but I'll figure out a way to protect the garden, maybe with a fence.

Anyway, just wanted to share that in case anyone else needs more room to garden & wants to try it at waist level.

Offline beagle76

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #36 on: July 13, 2011, 07:39:34 AM »
Post some photos if you can. I would love to see them.

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #37 on: July 13, 2011, 08:16:41 AM »
Will do. 

Offline beagle76

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2011, 08:09:07 PM »
Update - This is a photo of the spuds from July 26th. As you can see the older plants have spilled over the barrels and on to the ground. They are far more advanced the the later planted ones.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2011, 09:08:46 PM »
I will be interested in how many potatos this yields. I just dug mine up and didnt get as many as I had hoped for. I used a regular raised bed and added soil as they grew up. This was my first attempt.

Offline Sweethearts Mom

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2011, 09:28:41 PM »
I can't wait for you to harvest!!! Isn't it tater tippin time yet??

Offline beagle76

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2011, 10:09:52 AM »
I don't expect to harvest until probably the end of September or early October. Home grown spuds have such a full range of flavor and vitality I just don't find in store bought ones. I will post some photos come harvest time.

Offline BadgerAngel

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2011, 04:33:05 PM »
How do you store your potatoes?  I'm very, very new to gardening (other than the forced work that mom used to make us do for like two days every spring before she grew bored with it) and I am looking to get into this.  Also, since I have even less space than most (I live in an apartment complex that has LOTS of space, but the landlord won't let us garden, and would never let me do potato barrels) has anyone with limited space tried the potato bag method?  If so, what kind of harvest is possible?

Offline beagle76

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2011, 04:47:11 PM »
We store our potatoes in a cool, dark area in our basement. It is actually a shower area which we do not use. We have had good luck storing them there, but you bring up a really good point here. I think I need to do some research on how best to store them. If anyone has any advice, please post.

Offline MMMRobby

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2011, 02:13:52 PM »
Why don't you put worms in there yourself?

Offline traildad

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #45 on: August 20, 2011, 11:31:09 AM »
Here is a photo of my attempt. I have seen several videos about this but it seems everyone gets only a few potatoes. As my buckets fill up I just stack a new one with the bottom cut out. It has worked well so far. I harvested the weakest stack a week ago and only got enough to make a couple healthy servings. I tried to keep adding compost before the plants grew very high. I wanted to leave good leaf exposure for photosynthesis, but I figured that letting them grow a lot would cause the stems to become "woody" and might reduce the yield. I buried the plants frequently to keep a good balance. The one harvest so far suggests that there was no difference. I have not given up hope yet, but I am starting to think that the whole idea of mounding potatoes is some kind of myth.

Offline atherts

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #46 on: August 20, 2011, 02:56:49 PM »
I did the tire system and only got potatoes around where the seedlings were planted. The tires all the way up had nothing but stalks. I added soil and three tires over time, but no luck.
The other stack is still growing so we'll see how that does.

Offline traildad

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #47 on: August 23, 2011, 08:09:38 PM »
I just harvested two more barrels. I believe I did one Yukon Gold and one Russet. The Yukon Gold only had potatoes at the very bottom. I could see at least a foot of buried stalk with no sign of potatoes at all. The Russet had a small potato just barely below the surface of the dirt. There were more all down the stalk. I could see 10 or more teeny tiny potatoes that did not develop. There were 6 Yukon gold and 14 Russet. One Yukon was as big as my fist, all the Russets were very small. I wonder if the yield is just spread into many small potatoes rather than one or two larger ones. My plants are not totally died off yet, I wonder if the potatoes in the remaining buckets will get any larger. Regardless, fresh potatoes for dinner tonight. ;D

Offline FromScratchWoman

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #48 on: September 24, 2011, 12:03:31 PM »
This year I did really well in the ground I dug five eight foot long two ft deep trenches I used a gmo free heirloom mountain rose variety a heat wave struck in mid July while we were out of town and our friend bless his hart didn't quite get the concept of water deep please..so they were all dead when we got home harvest time for this variety is in late Sept mid Oct but even in July we got well over 300 spuds of of 50 eyes! All ranging from the size of a small plum(perfect for stew) to a grapefruit sized spud! One thing I noticed is they didn't grow down they grew side to side all joined together..then it hit me well duh they aren't roots such as sweet potatoes and yams they're tubers and from all I have read they don't like to grow down they want to spread out..so my idea for next year is to grow barrels on their sides..four eyes per barrel,I will use 55 gal with metal locking lids so come harvest I can just take off the lid then tip up right this will save me lots of space..

As far as storage a simple trash can root cellar is perfect..

Also I will be painting the barrels black and then white black to keep light out of the barrels and off of the spuds and the white to keep them from baking..

Offline FromScratchWoman

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #49 on: September 24, 2011, 12:16:42 PM »
Don't have a whole lot of pics but this first one is of the trenches with eyes put in...
I planted radishes between the spuds the purple tops are the spuds after a month and a half ish after being planted..
And this is straight out of the ground..

I love this variety they are so rich and earthy tasting..do well in cooler climates..
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 12:31:10 PM by FromScratchWoman »

Offline jim124816

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #50 on: September 24, 2011, 07:06:07 PM »
Hey guys.  I did this for the first time this year.  LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE!  I used compost that was not done cooking.  I had large plants on top that looked awsome, but when I harvested I found only healthy potatoes near the outside of the barrel.  The compost was still HOT to the touch in the center.  I think I cooked of a majority of my bounty by using too hot of a compost. 

Offline WVMan73

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #51 on: September 24, 2011, 09:27:21 PM »
This is an awesome thread! I'm really learning lots here :D
I've been thinking of trying potatoes in tires or barrels, so I'll keep watch on the updates.

 :popcorn:

Thanks for posting everyone!

WVMan73

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #52 on: September 25, 2011, 07:25:15 AM »
This was my first year, too.  Lessons I took home were: 
1) The sandier the soil the better.  I had two areas I planted, one was terrible native soils with sticks and pine needles in it but very sandy decomposed granite, the other was 75% topsoil/compost mix from the nursery, 25% native soils.  The terrible native soils were more productive, grew larger potatoes, and were a lot easier to harvest (the loam really packed down over the course of the year).
2) Unless you have a really, really dry couple of weeks, there's no reason to water them.  The plants that were more ignored did better.
3) Between the Yukon Golds and Reds that I planted, the Yukons were consistently larger with a lot of the reds no bigger than a golf ball, but pound for pound they produced about equally.  Some Yukons only produced 3-4 potatoes, but they were huge, where some of the reds would make 1-2 large potatoes but a half dozen little marble to golf ball sized potatoes.
4) While I had some plants that produced over a gallon container of potatoes, there's a lot of variance between plants, even when under identical conditions it seemed.  Some did almost nothing (3 average sized potatoes), some kicked butt.
5) They're a lot of fun to grow and I'd definitely do it again.  Next time I plan on using a removable raised bed frame (2x12 construction of 24x24 or 30x30" boxes similar to Colhutt).

I planted 22 potatoes (7.5 pounds) total and harvested about two five gallon buckets worth.  They were in the ground and harvested by hand.  I have no doubt that some are still in the ground in the loam, because without tools, there's just no way I could get to the bottom of the bed.  Next year it's going to be a berry patch and if a potato or ten comes up, I'm fine with that. 

I did most of my harvesting and drying yesterday, although I'd already harvested quite a bit already and I left two plants alone because they appeared to still be green and growing.


Offline caverdude

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Re: Growing Potatos in Barrels
« Reply #53 on: September 25, 2011, 09:22:45 AM »
I have not read this entire post but I guess someone mentioned stacking tires to grow potatoes in a similar fashion.