Friday, April 13, 2012

Roll Out The Barrel (again)

In my blog last Novemeber I reused a wooden barrel as a dog house.  It was a great frugal fit for our pet until a family member offered up a dog igloo that she didn't want.  What can I say. The dog house was a better dog house than the barrel could ever hope to be.

The barrel was rolled to another part of the yard and turned into a potato bin. 
Now, I've never had much luck with potatoes and I've tried many times and many different ways.  Each failure had me doubting whether there would be future attempts.  But I'm nothing if not persistent so here I go again.
I read an article by Christy at who wrote about having wonderful luck growing potatoes in a container.  Whats a barrel if not a big container, right? 
I left my seed potatoes in a bag in a dark closet until we had some good roots growing.  These potatoes came from Peaceful Valley Farms in Auburn, California. 

I started by adding about 4 inches of partially composted leaves, potting soil and sifted compost to the bottom of the barrel.
The potatoes were placed on top, covered with a few more inches of soil and watered well. 

 I made sure to leave the label next to the barrel to remind me what type of potatoes I'm growing.   I always think I'll remember but I don't.

It's amazing how quickly the vines grow.  It seems like every few days I'm adding potting soil or compost to gently cover the vines to within an inch or two of the top leaves.  I hope I don't run out of room.

The variety I planted (German Butterball) is a late potato and should be ready in about 120 days. At that point the vines will be cut down and the potatoes allowed to "mature" in the soil for 2 weeks. This last step will help the potatoes last longer during storage.  I initially planted these on March 23 so I'll be looking for potatoes around the end of July. 
I'll update pictures and let you know how successful (or disappointing) this last method was. 
Be well and happy gardening!

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