Sunday, April 18, 2010

Potatoes In A Can

We are growing potatoes. In a trashcan. And so far it's working. I read about this somewhere in cyberspace and thought it looked like fun, so the boys and I are trying it. Oh, and we planted them on St. Patrick's Day. That's the traditional day for planting potatoes.

The boys drilled holes in the sides and bottom of an old trashcan. Then we put some dirt in the bottom of it. Then we cut up two potatoes that had started sprouting eyes. We cut about an inch square of potato around the eye. Then we placed those squares of potato with the eyes in the trashcan and covered them with dirt. Then we walked away and promptly forgot that we had planted potatoes.

Not really. We checked on those things constantly, and after two weeks, just as we had decided that our spuds had either rotted or had been genetically modified to not reproduce, we saw sprouts. Glorious sprouts.

Now those sprouts are growing like crazy. We need to keep a careful eye on them though, because we need to keep dumping dirt on top of the plants whenever they get too tall. Let me explain.

Potatoes grow from sideways shoots that grow out from the main stalk of the plant. So, if we just let the first potato squares grow, the stalks would get tall, but only the shoots that the stalk sent out under the dirt would grow potatoes.

So, you wait until the stalks get about 6 inches above the dirt, then you cover everything up with dirt again. Then the stalks will grow up again through the dirt, but in the meantime you've added more space for the stalks to send out more shoots under the dirt. So, you keep doing this until the trashcan is filled to the top with dirt. After that you wait until the tops turn brown and fall over. Then you dump out your trashcan and harvest your spuds.

Here are pictures after twice being covered with dirt, and I covered them again last week but didn't take pictures yet.


  1. Not that there's anything wrong with eating produce from a garbage can, but is there a reason you don't just plant them in the ground? Just saying....

  2. Okay, smarty pants - the can was thoroughly washed first, and space was an issue here, and the fact that we only have so many places to dig where there aren't phone, cable or electric wires underground. We have one itty bitty space for gardening, and that's for my tomatoes and peppers; I refuse to use it for potatoes! Anyway, you're just jealous 'cause you didn't think of throwing potato eyes in your black pool water and sprouting them there.



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