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My bumper crop of potatoes!

 
pollinator
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Let me just start by saying that I’m actually THRILLED with the way this turned out. I took a half rotten potato and stuck it in a large pot just to see if anything could be salvaged from it. I didn’t even have good dirt on hand, just a bunch of mulch from last summer’s flower beds.

AND IT GREW!!!

By all accounts it shouldn’t have; I planted it late (end of March) in sub-par soil, in a poorly draining pot.

I dug put about 30-40 of these little babies today ❤️ Most were quite a bit smaller, around the size of a penny, but some were almost the size of golf balls! They’ve all been saved so I can try again with better conditions. I’m impatient by nature, so a good half of them already went back into planters, with much better soil this time.

You guys I’m so excited!! This was an awesome day!
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Carolyne, had your potatoes already bloomed and died back?

Mine have not bloomed yet though they have blossoms getting ready to.

I hope I have as good luck as you did.

Good to know that I can plant half-rotten potatoes if I every get some more potatoes.
 
Carolyne Castner
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Anne Miller wrote:Carolyne, had your potatoes already bloomed and died back?

Mine have not bloomed yet though they have blossoms getting ready to.

I hope I have as good luck as you did.

Good to know that I can plant half-rotten potatoes if I every get some more potatoes.



They bloomed a few weeks ago, but never really died back. Just kept shooting up more green leaves and stems! I probably should have left them alone to keep growing but I was ready to see if anything had grown at all under the mulch! This was really just an experiment to try and figure out of I could even get potatoes to grow for me, so it was a success in my book!
 
Carolyne Castner
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My mother got a huge supply of red potatoes from her local co-op organic farm, and gifted me a bunch to use or replant.

I'd like to attempt to "properly" grow the red ones, so I'm doing some research about how to get them started. It looks like mid August is prime potato planting time for fall/winter potatoes in my area.
I've always had trouble with my grocery store potatoes sprouting in the pantry (where they're stored with the onions) so I'm going to try and use that to my advantage to start the red potatoes sprouting.
I don't think the pot that I used for the last potato experiment was big enough to allow for good growth, so I'm looking in to some grow bags for the red potatoes. Should be able to get them ordered/delivered in plenty of time for Aug planting (worst case scenario I go borrow some from a friend and order her some replacements! Good gardening friends are so valuable)
I've been reading that potatoes need lots of minerals to make larger tubers, so it sounds like they'll need a dirt mix that's pretty heavy on the fertilizer side.
Do y'all think compost and rabbit droppings would be good for the taters? Or am I better off trying to find a different organic fertilizer?
Red potatoes do better in my part of Texas than other varieties, and need a good layer of mulch on top. When they start growing should I hill them up with more dirt or more mulch?
I'm really excited for my next potato experiment and can't wait to find out what will happen!
 
Anne Miller
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I could not find the thread where someone said they plant their potatoes in a cardboard box.  Thought that was a novel idea.

They said when the potatoes were ready to harvest, they just picked up the box.  Since it had started to deteriorate the box came apart and left the potatoes, making it easy to harvest them

If I remember correctly the cardboard box was "planted" in the bed.
 
Carolyne Castner
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Anne Miller wrote:

If I remember correctly the cardboard box was "planted" in the bed.



That’s an amazing idea!! I’m going to have to give that a try
 
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My spring potato crop was awesome this year.... Except about half of them were damaged by some type of nibbler-bug under the mulch. The tubers with the most damage were the ones that were planted with lots of organic matter (compost and rabbit manure). The ones I laid on the soil and just covered with wood chips had much less damage. Otherwise, the size and amount of tubers per plant was comparable.
I tried multiple varieties, since this was my first time growing potatoes. I noticed the reds had the most damage, the yellow/golds had a small amount of damaged tubers, but the russets had almost no damage at all.
I may see if I can get some of my harvest to sprout and plant for a fall crop. Maybe I will see some different results.
 
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Congratulations!  By experimenting with a potato that would have been otherwise destined for the compost pile, you produced more potatoes!

I have several large pots that I usually grow a few potted tomatoes and peppers in and it gets very expensive filling them with soil when using the bagged stuff.  So last fall I decided to try composting directly in the pots.  I started with a layer of kitchen scraps and topped it with a layer of thorny mulch.  On most pots I alternated until they were full, but on one particular pot I added some potato peelings, covered with a layer of mulch and evidently forgot about it.  Back in April I grabbed that pot to empty it and noticed the potato sprouts.  At first I was going to try and plant them elsewhere as there were several, but I decided to leave them just to see what they'd produce.  They're still growing and when I pulled back the mulch to take a peek, I did see several small potatoes.  
 
Anne Miller
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Michelle, thanks for telling us about your experiment.  I am glad to know that they sprouted.

I tried to sprout potato peels and they just dissolved in the water so now I know to just layer them in mulch!

I have heard that many things will sprout in compost.

I may try your large pot compost method, especially since I have some empty one!
 
Michelle Heath
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Anne, I left most of the old soil in the pots and composted on top of that.  

When I was a kid we had a "slop pile."  I guess it was called that because if we had hogs it would have been slop for them.  Anyhow all the kitchen waste was thrown in this pile and we always had potatoes, tomatoes and melons growing from it every year.  
 
Carolyne Castner
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Michelle Heath wrote:Anne, I left most of the old soil in the pots and composted on top of that.  

When I was a kid we had a "slop pile."  I guess it was called that because if we had hogs it would have been slop for them.  Anyhow all the kitchen waste was thrown in this pile and we always had potatoes, tomatoes and melons growing from it every year.  




We had a really funny thing happen out at the ranch one summer. The line to the septic system busted and had to be repaired. A couple months after the repair had been completed we noticed a bunch of small plants sprouting up from the dirt. We ended up with four or five different tomatoes growing in the middle of the yard! Called them our "poop" tomatoes
 
Michelle Heath
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Carolyne, my parents owned a slaughterhouse for a few years and dad would load up the manure and stomach contents and put them at the end of my grandma's garden. She always had a massive crop of field corn for her pole beans to climb.

Here's pictures of my accidental potatoes and a tomato planted in one of my compost pots.  Yes, that's dandelions growing with the tomato. I was harvesting some in early spring for a presentation I was doing on wild edibles (which was cancelled) and these two were just tiny.  I did add a handful of good soil in the hole before transplanting the tomato.
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Peelings in a pot
Peelings in a pot
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Cherry tomato in compost pot
Cherry tomato in compost pot
 
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I love these stories of potatoes growing effortlessly!  That has (sort of) been my experience.  I ran out of room in the garden (where three potato plants are growing like gangbusters) and put the rest in my brand-new food forest (which has a mulberry tree, a transplanted daylily, failed flower experiments (shade) and 14 potato plants.  The deep wood chips stay moist, but the potatoes were planted (with a little compost and soil in each hole) near the edge of the wood chips, so they would actually get some sun.  Thus, I've been watering them as it is drier there than deeper in the "forest," which is adjacent to the actual forest.

So, I've put effort into watering.  Apparently I forgot where I planted some of them, because after our single rainstorm in the last few weeks, three new plants started emerging!  I am going to have a LOT of blue potatoes, chosen for their anthocyanins.  Cheaper than blueberries but so nutritious and filling!  And apparently effortless to grow, if you get a bit of rain.
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