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Pastemistress
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going to try it with tires this year - what I read is cut the sidewall out on one side & place that side towards the ground ( prevents water from pooling inside the sidewall).
Tried it with a plastic trashcan last year - disaster. Didn't drill enough drainage holes & everything rotted.:(
 

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Actias Luna
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4,228 Posts
You should watch Michigansnowpony on youtube. She has several good videos on growing potatoes up with leaf bags instead of tires.

I've never tried it myself, I may do it this spring for the experience.
 

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My mom and I were interested in this and did some online research on the topic last year. We concluded that the idea sounds great, but most people who actually try it have a great deal of trouble actually getting it to work. We decided not to bother. Shame. If someone here has it working well, I'd love to hear what you're doing.
 

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homesteader
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227 Posts
The method shown in the link will work, no doubt. it appears to be more or less the same amount of work as growing in car tires is. I have always grown in the ground until this last year. I went ahead and tried the tire method and got 70lbs of taters from one 4 tire set. The trick is you HAVE to WATER them or you don't get any taters. I got antsy and harvested before the first frost(couldnt wait) and I was very impressed. I also used dirt from my compost pile (horse manure, cow manure, straw, hay, chicken and goat manures) so there is plenty of organics and nutrient in my soil.
 

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Certified Organic Grower
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4,969 Posts
An easy and cheap "container potato" is to use 1" chicken wire, 3 feet high.
Can all be done in one day once a roll of chicken wire is available.
Cut and wrap chicken wire around a round bucket or barrel as a mold to form circular cage.
Lay down a piece of chicken wire on the ground and cage over top to insure no critters come digging from below!
Fill one foot with well rotted compost and potato starters. Make sure the starters are small and dry (a bit of shrivel is good).
Add a compost/mulch mix as plant grows. Keep soil "fluffy" as you add it in to keep root system soft and friendly. Keep soil damp.

Harvest is easy....just lift or tip over cage to uncover the beauties.
The chicken wire makes over irrigation/soggy roots almost impossible.
Potatoes seem to really respond to a 99% mulch/compost soil bed.

This system has worked on a test yam crop last year too. :thumb:
 

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We had great luck with a row planted and then covered with straw. The potatoes were easy to pick, and weren't all covered with dirt. I had my doubts at first, but it really works. Holds moisture very well too. I don't think I'd use hay because it will have seeds from whatever grass field it was cut from in it, and I don't think it will hold moisture as well as straw. Just my 2 cents.
 

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The site was blocked by my work's filters (jeez) but I grow my potatoes in bushel baskets. Works great. Plenty of drainage and you just dump them out when it's time to harvest.
 

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Permaculturist
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1,032 Posts
Tried it using dirt and progressively the plants got higher, added 4 tires total. After the plants died back, I dug it all out and came up with tiny potatoes, located only in the bottom tire. Not a single spud in the rest of the heap.

Next time I will try straw.
 

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Bread Baker
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3,208 Posts
Just thought I would share my 2 cents worth of research on the topic. In short, the best potatoes to use for the "grow-up method" would be "late" potatoes. Something like German ButterBall, Red Pontiac, Kennebec, etc. The reason in simple terms - early and mid season taters set all the potatoes in a short period of time. Sort of like a determinate tomato. Late season taters continually develop potatoes similar to an indeterminate tomato.

If you plant a late season potato, as you cover the foliage, it keeps grwoing, therefore, it should continue to set potatoes all the way until it dies.

Early and Mid season couldn't care less. When there done, there done. The foliage could be 10 foot tall, but all the potatoes will be at the bottom.

Your mileage may vary, but typically this is why one person has good luck, and another doesn't. This I plan to try both early and late potatoes to test this out.
 

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I have no clue how I found this site, linking from one site to another most likely, but it looks interesting. Has anyone tried it? I have a limited garden area and would love to be able to grow this many potatoes.

TIA
I used square wire cages without a top or bottom and filled with dry leaves.

Keep watered each day and add leaves as the stalk grows and you will have potatoes...
 

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Permaculturist
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1,032 Posts
Just thought I would share my 2 cents worth of research on the topic. In short, the best potatoes to use for the "grow-up method" would be "late" potatoes. Something like German ButterBall, Red Pontiac, Kennebec, etc. The reason in simple terms - early and mid season taters set all the potatoes in a short period of time. Sort of like a determinate tomato. Late season taters continually develop potatoes similar to an indeterminate tomato.

If you plant a late season potato, as you cover the foliage, it keeps grwoing, therefore, it should continue to set potatoes all the way until it dies.

Early and Mid season couldn't care less. When there done, there done. The foliage could be 10 foot tall, but all the potatoes will be at the bottom.

Your mileage may vary, but typically this is why one person has good luck, and another doesn't. This I plan to try both early and late potatoes to test this out.
Excellent information. Thanks for sharing your research.
 

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homesteader
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227 Posts
Caduckrunner,

it had been my experience that taters actually like the cooler weather. They don't tolerate frost but cooler than you'd think is all good. The tire method helps when planting early because the sun warms the tires/soil. In zone 6, southern Illinois, i get mine out in early April without any problems. Even with a light frost,it's easy enough to cover the tire and protect them.
 

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I plan on doing this this year, thanks for the link. I just could not go with the tire thing my dog thinks they are toys
 
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