Last season I tried to grow potatoes in my garden the traditional way. I planted them in the ground, covered them up a couple times over the summer months and waited. It was a complete failure. I ended up with 5-6 small pebble sized potatoes. This year I decided to try something different. I am several months into my experiment growing potatoes above ground and am ready to share what I’m learning and discovering in the process.
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My Experiment Growing Potatoes Above Ground
I will start by saying that I have no idea in reality if this will work, but there are many people who have tried this online and I am encouraged by my process so far. If you have ever tried this method, I would love to hear from you!
- A container (garden lattice, chicken wire etc)
- Potting Soil
- Straw or Hay
Directions with Lattice
I had some potatoes that were sprouting in the drawer in the kitchen so I cut them in pieces (making sure each piece had a visible eye or growth section and took them outside to my new spot.
Begin by building a container that you can layer as the plants grow. I have two different potato containers that I am trying this season. I had some old garden lattice that I used for my first potato pillar. Shape the lattice into a loose circle and secure with zip ties or a rope. The theory is that when the season is over, I will be able to cut loose the zip ties and mounds of potatoes will just fall out. We’ll see…
Layer the bottom of the lattice circle with potting soil or dirt and then set each of the potatoes on top.
I then covered up the potatoes with a little more soil and a good layer of straw. Over the past few weeks, I have continued to layer more straw and soil anytime the green leaves break through the layer. I still see visible growth on the potato plants and am hopeful this will be a successful experiment!
*Remember, I have no clue if this will work, but right now, it seems to be doing good!
Chicken Wire Potato Tower
I have also started a potato ‘tower’ using chicken wire over behind the barn. I am doing the very same process there but using chicken wire that I have left over from a previous owner. I used old tobacco sticks to help shape the chicken wire and keep it secure.
These potoates were started a few weeks ago in the unheated greenhouse in a pot and they finally outgrew their container so I decided to transplant them here and try them in the chicken wire silo.
About once a week I walk over to take a look at the progress and add more hay if I can see the green leaves. I have also sprinkled some extra dirt over the straw along the way.
Most of us don’t live on massive homesteads or property but many of us are craving the satisfaction of knowing that we can grow our own food and live near the land. Another book that I have been reading this month is The Modern Homestead Garden. No matter where you live, there are ways to incorporate growing food into your lifestyle.
In The Modern Homestead Garden, author and YouTube gardening star Gary Pilarchik of The Rusted Garden walks you step-by-step through the process of building a homestead garden. From laying out the planting beds,nurturing the soil, and starting seeds, straight through to cooking and preserving the harvest, Gary serves as your warm and accessible guide, no matter how large or how small your homestead is. With the guidance found here, you’ll move at your own pace, learn, share, and enjoy the journey as you slowly transform your home into an edible landscape.Order The Modern Homestead Garden on Amazon
Over the course of the next few weeks and months, I will be watching these two potato pillars and will let you know what happens. What do you think? Will I end up with a bountiful potato harvest and a huge success or not?