Potato plants = How Tall?? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 04/27/09, 02:14 PM
hollym's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: TX
Posts: 2,302
Potato plants = How Tall??

Hey ya'll,

I planted potatoes from the store a while ago, and they are doing really well! They grow faster in a week than I can mulch. So I'm doing the tire stack method with four of them and I'm already on tire #3 on a couple of them. How tall will they grown before they flower and die back?

I can get more tires if I need to. Just wondering how many? I planted the original seed potato - Yukon Gold - in dirt inside the first tire and I've been mulching them with half rotted hay/dirt from the goat pen, leaves, and compost so far.

I have some more sprouted too, know they are a cold weather plant, but is it absolutely impossible to grow them in warmer temps? My plot is semi-shaded by big live oak trees.

Thanks in advance!

hollym

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  #2  
Old 04/27/09, 04:36 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Ky
Posts: 55

I don't if it has been brought up, but I have seen some here that uses tires for various vegetables beds.

Tires leach out high levels of zinc from what I hear. If I was you I would check it out.

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  #3  
Old 04/27/09, 06:10 PM
Realist
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: North Carolina
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I know it's not what you want to hear, but you can stack tires to the moon, you're only going to get a finite number of potatoes per plant. that number is 2 fair sized ones, and up to a dozen small ones, by small I mean golfball size. Potatoes will not grow over 6 inches above the seed piece, which is generally a couple inches under the ground. I grow them all summer long, here in NC where its right bad hot. The plant itself will grow til its time is up.
eta: you get one plant per eye, you can cut a lot of eyes from one potato.

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Last edited by zong; 04/27/09 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 04/27/09, 06:36 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Fl Zones 11
Posts: 7,566

I have done some research on this and early season potatoes, such as caribe and yukon golds, will only set a certain number of tubers no matter how high you hill them. Mid and Late season potatoes are much more apt to keep setting tubers as you keep hilling them.
Paquebot suggested one reason I was only getting 2-3 potatoes per plant was I was too aggressively hilling them- only leaving about 3 inches of green showing, and adding mulch/sand weekly. He suggesting letting them make good growth prior to hilling them. Even tho it was later in the season, I got excellent results that way. I don't remember if I got 20 something potatoes out of 1 container, but I know I definetely had 19, 16, and 14 potatoes in containers from 1 seed.
My book "The Potato Garden" states Irish potatoes don't form tubers after soil temp is 85 degrees or higher. You might check out Sumor sweet potatoes- we are going to grow them this year- supposedly equivalent to an Irish potato in taste /texture but takes our zone 10/11 heat.
The Echo Farm day we attended in Fort Myers this past March- Echo is Educational Concerns against Hunger Organization- teaches missionaries and peace corpsman educational tricks for small scale agricultural production to fight world hunger, highly recommends using old tires on a base as a container for food production. Their staff said the heavy metal leachate from old tires was based on rubber mulch testing, wear the tire is broken down into tiny particles and exposes much more surface area to water.

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Old 04/27/09, 06:54 PM
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A & N Lazy Pond Farm
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 3,362

the second paragraph from this link
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/sanders98.html
says
"There is no appreciable risk in using recycled tires in the vegetable garden. While it is a fact that rubber tires do contain minute amounts of certain heavy metals, the compounds are tightly bonded within the actual rubber compound and do not leach into the soil. One of the ingredients in the rubber recipe is zinc. Zinc, in fact, is an essential plant element. I also expect that rubber is safer to use than treated lumber that contains copper and arsenic. Tires are durable. The very qualities that make them an environmental headache make them perfect for our uses in the garden. Once they are in place, they won’t rot and will likely be there for your grandchildren to use. "

I have been using tires for several years and the stuff I put in them does great.

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  #6  
Old 04/27/09, 09:28 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: South Central Wisconsin
Posts: 14,800

You may as well give up trying to grow them any higher than they are. You've admitted that they are growing faster than you can mulch them. That method is one in which you either have to commit yourself to tending to it daily or not at all. They are probably "lost" as far as the purpose for which you are growing them.

And, no I have not suggested a lot of growth before hilling. I have never used aggressive hilling as a reason for low production when the opposite is true. Low production is due to only a few stolons being produced before the main stem begins.

Martin

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