Thursday, June 18, 2009

Growing potatoes in a bag.

Permaculture is largely about growing food and using resources wisely. I don't grow as much food as I should but we have recently got the little vege patch going again and the season allows parsley and other herbs to grow unaided. I don't really like to have to water the garden; it is meant to be winter after all, despite the lack of rain so far.
They've grown since last week.

This year I am trying spuds in a tree bag as a method to grow in a small yet sunny space in the garden. Last year the potatoes were in too much shade and died a slow drawn out death. I am also using it as an experiment in reusing/composting some old cocopeat mulch and leaves. The tree bag was rescued from work. I went thirds in a bag of White Star seed potatoes. I've never heard of them or seen them for sale but they sound like a good versatile variety, having checked out their credentials on the Potato Marketing Corporation site.
Not very interesting so far.

This morning I put a layer of coco mulch and some cow and sheep poo in the bottom of the 45 litre tree bag, then some leaves from the honey locust and placed the spuds on top of that, about 15 cm apart. I then had to get a big pot out and do that one with layers too as there were too many spuds for one container.
Then I layered a bit more mulch and poo on top of that and now we wait. It's important to not let them dry out and also not to drown them. It is cool during the day at the moment so they won't dry out too fast.

So now the trick is to gradually keep putting more layers of dry materials around the stems of the potatoes as they grow. In this way the stems will produce tubers from the sides all the way along and you get a good crop of spuds. Every now and again add some more manure or feed with some fish emulsion. You must ensure that the potatoes are kept buried as they form, so keep on adding mulch or straw around the stems.
After a couple of months the leaves at the top will die back and you can harvest your potatoes. Store them in a dark dry cool place.
We shall see how mine go...

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