Back in spring I wrote a post about my love of potatoes and showed the beginning of my rubbermaid bin potato patch. I promised to give an update about how it all worked out.
So, to recap – After I had already planted my garden in spring, I found an old bag of organic potatoes in the EAC basement that were definitely past their prime. I decided to save a few of them from the compost bucket and planted them in an old rubbermaid bin I had found kicking around my place. I drilled a few holes in the bottom of the bin, tossed in 6 potatoes, and then covered them up with potting soil. Within a few weeks there were little plants, and as soon as the plants were about 7 or 8 inches tall, I added more soil so that only a few inches were popping up. I kept on doing this until the bin was full of dirt and the plants were huge!
By mid-summer, I had four thriving plants in the bin – two of the potatoes had just rotted in the ground. (Perhaps a lesson on why buying seed potatoes is a good idea?) At this point, I figured I didn’t have much to lose, so I tossed in two red fingerling potatoes I had gotten at the market. These potatoes actually started growing in no time, and eventually became the largest plants in the bin.
I dipped into the bin a few times in summer to dig up some baby potatoes for hodge podge. It was a lot easier to gently root around in the soft potting soil with my hands than pick them out of the harder soil in my garden (yeah, I know I should mulch so it doesn’t dry up, but that’s another blog post…)
When the potatoes started to die off, I knew it was time to dump over the bin and see what I got! This was also a nice difference from harvesting my garden potatoes. In the garden, I used a pitchfork to gently lift the potatoes up out of the ground which was actually pretty tough work. It’s pretty hard to avoid spearing potatoes as you stick the fork deep into the soil. (I’m lucky – I only stabbed two of ’em).
The potato bin on the other hand was EASY PEASY. I just got a big tarp, laid it on the ground, and dumped the contents of the bin on it. I picked out the potatoes and the project was done! I ended up with about four pounds of potatoes from the bin – which isn’t counting the hodgepodge potatoes snatched throughout the summer.
Even though I’m lucky enough to have a lot of garden space where I live, I’m still going to do this again next year. For those of you that don’t have a lot of garden space, a bin garden can produce a lot of food!
Yours in food,