Potatoes in a barrel, well half barrel

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by wy_white_wolf, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

    Messages:
    6,301
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wyoming
    Hi All,

    Wanted to try the growing potatoes in barrel thing this year, but figured our season here might be a little short to fill a 55 gallon drum. So I got some 27 gallon containers and started potatoes in them. It took about 30 to get them filled all the way up. Could has been a little quicker but I didn't want to get to aggressive with adding the compost. I'll add some bush beans I have started in pots in a couple of days.

    [​IMG]

    Too bad nothing else in the garden seems to be going right this year.

    Wy White Wolf
     
  2. KindredSpirit

    KindredSpirit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,197
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    I haven't tried a container for potatoes yet. I have heard of using a trash can and layering straw as the vines rise up. Has anyone tried that method? Your vines look like they are off to a good start but is there enough room in those containers for the potatoes to grow? Just curious. I know from planting them in the ground they take up some space. Please keep us posted on how they turn out. :)
     

  3. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

    Messages:
    6,301
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wyoming
    Figured I needed to update this. We had one of the plants looking like it was dieing so we emptied it out today

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    About half of the foilage there is the beans that I planted with them.

    Figured it was a little early to dump it but figured we should or we might lose the other plant too. We didn't get much from that barrel. only 3 lbs. worth and most of them were small. These are Yukon Golds.

    [​IMG]

    All of the potatoes were in the bottom 6 inches of the barrel. Did look like the plant was about ready to start forming tubers up higher in the barrel.

    Why do you think the plant was falling over and looking like it was dieing?
    They were real bushy about 3 weeks ago. Now they are all droppy looking.

    So far I think my experiement is a toss-up.

    But we did have a real good supper of taters, beans and ham.
     
  4. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    Messages:
    1,857
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    The trick with growing them in containers or anywhere for that matter is hilling or adding more compost or straw as the plants grow. I raise them in raised beds and plant them on the bottom of the box. As soon as there is six or so inches of growth I add another layer. During the growing season you may have to add more compost straw every week to keep up. Then you'll have spuds all throughout your container and the medium helps support your vines.
     
  5. harrisjnet

    harrisjnet Okie with Attitude

    Messages:
    2,820
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Potatoes will make like yours did, but die off if no more soil is added. My mother used Cindar Blocks and my sister used Old tires to grow potatoes in. They would use a couple of layers of blocks or tires to start the potaoes. When then plants got tall enough for another layer at least four inches of plant sticking out, They would add the blocks or a tire and fill it up with good soil. The taters would make all the way up to about one layer down. They would pull them all down in the fall and collect the potatoes. My sis made three bushel one year stacking tires 8 high.
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,801
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    The potato plants looked droopy and dying because they were indeed dying. Yukon Gold is an early variety. They are genetically programmed to only live so long. After that, what you see is what you get.

    The tubers were all found in a 6" area near the bottom of the barrel. That was the length of the underground portion of the stem which produced stolons. Once those plants began establishing an aboveground stem, again it was what you see is what you get.

    Finding potatoes under plants and being happy with the results are subject to individual joy. Several nights ago, I helped one gardener dig the Red Norlands out of her nearly rock-hard clay garden. Each hill produced 5 or 6 tubers with some just a bit larger than a hen's egg. She was very happy even with the few which were barely larger than a marble. I didn't want to tell her that some of my Red Norlands produced individual tubers which would total the weight of an entire hill for her. She found potatoes under those plants and that was sufficient reason to rejoice!

    Martin
     
  7. labrat

    labrat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2005
    Location:
    central Bluegrass State
  8. KindredSpirit

    KindredSpirit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,197
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    I grew potatoes under straw one year. I did the same thing some posters did with soil, building it up as the plant grew. It was pretty successful with the exception of some the slugs got! If you do use straw, make sure you lift it with a rake. The snakes really liked it under there!
     
  9. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,596
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    N. Calif./was USDA 9b before global warming
    I wish we'd get snakes around here to deal with the moles and gophers, but in a suburb you know someone's gonna whack a gopher snake with a shovel thinking its a rattler.

    I've heard of growing potatoes in a container and mounding with straw; the local ag office did a trial of this and got 40 lbs of potatos off a single yukon gold plant. I've no experience growing potatoes but that sure sounds like a lot to me!
     
  10. KindredSpirit

    KindredSpirit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,197
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    We had an open field behind our old house and had a problem with mice until the snakes moved in. They didn't really bother me as long as they didn't catch me off guard. Most of them were just garter snakes. The straw potato growing worked really well for me. I only had about a 10 x 10 patch but it was pretty productive. I didn't count how many we got though. The slugs got a few also, which was disappointing.