Gardening: How To Grow A Hundred Pounds Of Potatoes In A Barrel

Gardening: How To Grow A Hundred Pounds Of Potatoes In A Barrel

Health benefits of potatoes

Potatoes are edible plant tubers first cultivated in the Andes region of South America.Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like potatoes decreases the risk of obesity, and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight.

The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and zinc in potatoes all contribute to the building and maintaining of bone structure and strength.
Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure. However, increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.

Potatoes contain folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.

What do you need to grow your own potatoes?

People wrongly think that gardening, especially vegetable gardening, can be done only if you have a big garden or yard of your own.

So, I am about to show you just how simple and easy it is to have homegrown potatoes at your disposal at all times. The trick is to use specially designed containers for this purpose. Looking like grocery bags, these potato containers will even surpass the advantages of an outdoor garden.

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Using the fertilizer and water in the proper way as suggested in this tutorial will yield some tasty healthy potatoes. Check out the full range of instructions and all the steps required from the early growing stages to the harvesting. Your cooking will be so fresh, now that you have your very own homegrown potatoes at hand!

Not only does growing potatoes in a barrel reduce the amount of weeding and exposure to pests and fungi, but also you don’t have to risk shovel-damage to the tender potatoes by digging them out of the ground when they’re done. You just tip the container over!

Here is how I did it:

After extensive research to plan my own “barrel potatoes”, I’ve sorted out all of the recommendations down to 4 simple steps to a winning potato harvest:

1. Select and prepare a container

You’ll need to pick out a container such as a 50-gallon trash barrel or one of those half whiskey barrel planters. Alternatively, you can buy used food-grade barrels or commercially-available potato planters. Any 2 to 3-foot tall container will do the job, but make sure to select a container that either already has holes in it, or it is okay to make holes yourself.

Next you’ll need to clean your container with a mild bleach solution to get rid of the nasties that have gathered in there. If you don’t want to use bleach, you can make bleach alternative instead.

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Good drainage is critical for the cultivation of healthy potatoes, so you’ll have to cut or drill a series of large drainage holes at the bottom and bottom sides of your container. Alternatively, you can cut out the bottom altogether and place it on a well-drained surface like your garden bed.

2. Choose the variety of potatoes you want to plant

Seed potatoes can usually be found at nurseries early in the growing season, but you only have to buy them once. If you can, “chit” or sprout your potatoes before planting them by setting them out in an egg carton, the side with the most buds facing up, and putting them in a cool light room out of direct sunlight to sprout. Putting the tubers in an open paper bag can produce this same effect.

Fill in the bottom of your container with about 6 inches of loose planting mix and compost. You’ll need to use a planting mix with a peat moss-like soil amendment, for instance the product made from repurposed coconut husks. Doing so will keep the soil from becoming too compacted and help it to store moisture for the roots.

Next, add some seed potatoes on the layer of soil, making certain to leave plenty of space between each cube. You can use the whole potato, but I like to cut the potatoes into 1 to 2-inch cubes for planting. Loosely backfill the potatoes with another 6 inches of your soil and compost mix and water to dampen soil. Keep the soil moist at all times, but be careful not to overwater it.

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3. Add more soil

When they have about 6 to 8 inches of foliage, add another layer of your soil-compost mix covering about one-half to 3-quarters of the visible stems and foliage. Repeat this process of allowing the sprouts to grow and then covering the sprouts and moistening the soil as the plants grow up toward the top of the barrel.

4. Harvest the potatoes

After about 10 weeks (or until the plants flower and start to yellow), the potatoes should be ready to harvest. Carefully dig down with your hands to inspect the top-most layer. Finally, dump the barrel out on a tarp and inspect your bounty. Happy harvesting fellows!

Other tips to grow bushels of barrel potatoes

  • After the first harvest, keep a few potatoes to reuse as seed potatoes next year.
  • Bush beans are a great companion plant for potatoes.
  • Instead of using soil, try growing potatoes in sawdust.
  • Experiment with different containers, seed potatoes and watering regimes.

Produce your favorite vegies in your own way this planting season!