Saturday, May 22, 2010

potato towers take 2

After the somewhat disappointing yield of the potato boxes last year I was sure I'd done something wrong. A little searching makes it clear that a lot of people have had similar results. (Actually, my results of 29 pounds in one box and 18 in the other seem quite good compared to most, but what I did not get was potatoes above the bottom layer.)

Today I happened across some good stuff at which refers to, and The right way to do it may be to keep only the top inch of vine uncovered, which is definitely not what I did last year.

According to Ciscoe's instructions I was already behind, with some plants at 12 inches and more, so I did some hasty shoveling. I also tossed in three tablespoons of Osmocote 14-14-14 per bin. I'll continue using soil for the bins, I think.

In this tower I have German butterballs.

And this one has All Blue.

For the potato bed, which had already been fed with bone meal and an organic vegetable fertilizer, I began mounding with rough mulch from some recent shredding. I'll see how that goes in comparison. This isn't an extremely sunny area so yield may be limited for that reason.

The bed has Russian banana fingerlings, Desiree, Yellow Finn, All Blue, and German butterball. These are all late season varieties. The Desiree and Yellow Finn were from last year's harvest. I know there's a chance they won't produce well, but I'm curious to see what happens. They weren't suffering from any diseases as far as I could tell.

gutter planter update

The gutter planter I built and planted back in March is now producing. We had a nice bunch of mesclun and baby bibb lettuce at dinner as a result of the afternoon's thinning efforts.

As I should have anticipated, the squirrels were disruptive and messed up a lot of the early seedlings. Since then I've put up a system for draping bird netting. The aesthetics are annoying but not egregious.