“Do you like potatoes?” Heck yeah, I do!
“Do you have a limited garden space?” What a nice way to say I have a small backyard!
“Well, then, why haven’t you tried trash can potatoes?” Um, say what?
Apparently, you can grow potatoes, a lot of potatoes, in a trash can. Ok, let’s give it a shot! I looked through several sites and YouTube videos, and this is a collection of the information I found. For the most part, everybody said pretty much the same thing.
First, I needed to locate seed potatoes. Ordinary supermarket potatoes have been sprayed with something called “stop bud” to keep them from becoming potato plants before they get bought. You can find seed potatoes at some garden centers, or you can use organic potatoes that haven’t been sprayed. Now that we are at Fort Campbell, I can drive a short distance away to the Amish stores, and since I love any excuse to go to the Amish stores, that’s where I bought my potatoes. Check out these blooming beauties! Fifty cents a pop and they came with a sidecar of charming conversation with a lovely Amish grandma, as well as a fun time getting lost in the country with a good friend.
The next thing I needed was a 30 gallon garbage can and a bag of potting soil. Potatoes are particular about water; too little and they get all misshapen, too much and they quickly rot. So, I used a moisture control potting soil that had been premixed with compost. It’s slightly more expensive than regular potting soil, but given that I am such a growing stuff novice, I felt it was a good investment. I also drilled out holes in the bottom of the garbage can and about six inches up the sides to ensure good drainage.
Now, it’s time to plant! I chose two small potatoes and two large ones to conduct my potato experiment. With the large ones, you are supposed to cut the buds off with a big chunk of the potato rather than burying the whole potato, like you do with the small ones. So, I have two cut potatoes, and two whole ones. I buried them in six inches of dirt and put the can out on the patio where it will get at least 6 hours of sun a day.
Pretty impressive can o’ dirt, don’t ya think? And yes, that’s my A/C unit. Now, when the potato plants grow up six inches, I add three inches of dirt. When they grow six more, I add three more inches dirt, and so on and so forth. When the can is full, I continue to water like I have been (so that the soil is moist, but not soaked), and when the plants grow yellow and die, it’s time to harvest! Just turn the can over and pull out the potatoes. That’s supposed to happen sometime around mid to late summer. I think I can do this!
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