Potato Planting, Part II

 It was finally time last week to get our potatoes planted.

We'd been waiting since February, when we bought our russet, yukon gold, and red potatoes from a local seed-and-feed shop. And though we certainly have the space to grow them the old-fashioned way in a long, viney strand, we opted to grow our potatoes vertically, in tires.

Growing vertically is a great space-saving option for those of us living with little or no yards. Simply cut the potato into chunks that have their eyes (photo above shows a potato covered in eyes; each can be planted separately), eyes facing up.

As the root system grows, mound dirt up around your potato plant and, eventually, add another tire. Keep adding tires until you have three tires stacked. Early potatoes are ready to harvest when the flowers have opened or the buds fallen off. Dig a few tubers up and check—they should be about the size of a hen's egg. With maincrop potatoes, wait until the foliage has turned brown, cut off at the stems and wait a few days before lifting. When you carefully unstack your tires and remove the dirt, you'll be left with pounds and pounds of potato (one potato grows six to twelve new potatoes).

For more information about tire-planted potatoes, see our previous post:
Growing Potatoes in Tires: Feb. 21, 2012

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.