Have you ever heard of growing potatoes in tires? You fill a tire full of garden soil and plant a few potatoes. After the plants get to be about two feet tall, you add another tire on top of the first one and fill more compost or soil around the potato plants up to the top of that tire. When the potato growth gets taller again, you add another tire and more dirt. I've seen people get up to five tires high! The potato plant amazingly makes more tubers along what was originally the above ground part of the plant.
Well, I don't have any extra tires to do this with and I think that would be a bit ugly anyway. However, the idea is a sound one so I am attempting to repeat the concept using boards to make my raised beds higher and higher.
I have Kennebec and Yukon Gold potatoes tightly spaced in the raised beds so I can do this. last year I tired this with some success, but the beds were too large. It takes a lot of extra soil to raise 20 square feet even one foot higher.
This year I planted them in beds 4 foot by 3 foot, and 4 foot by 2 foot, so I could more easily add more wood and soil to the beds. Unfortunately, that is STILL too big of an area.
By accident however, I discovered the perfect size bed for this technique - about 2 foot square.
My daughter planted only two seed potatoes in the corner of her garden bed. I then built up that portion of the bed with wood stakes and boards. As the potato plants keep getting taller, we will add another layer of boards and fill that in with more soil. By the time we are done, the "box" will be almost three feet tall.
What makes this even better than the tire idea is that we can take off some of the lower boards to harvest "new potatoes" any time we wish because the first tubers that are produced are at the bottom and as long as we keep making the box taller, the plant will keep producing!
Ironically, since I won't be capable of making my larger potato beds very high, my daughters 2x2 potato bed will out-produce my 4x3 beds. Next year we will make several small bed/boxes like hers. My daughter has really been teaching me about gardening this year without even trying. When it comes to these potatoes, good thing she has a green thumb!
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