Monday, October 1, 2012

Potato Experiment Update

Trench on left, tower on the right
I just harvested the last two potato plots in the garden. Both were experiments of course because I just can't leave well enough alone. I had russet potatoes that never got into the ground until the first week of July. Even though I was waaaaay late and my other potatoes were well on their way I decided that I could let the russets rot then throw them away or just plant them and see what happened. I opted for the latter. TA DA! Another experiment is born. I built one more potato tower and planted 5 potatoes in it. Two more than my normal 3 but what the heck. I had plenty. Then because I saw this on another blog I decided to build a potato trench.

trench-click to enlarge

Here are the results. I slipped the chicken wire basket off the potato tower and quickly and easily ran my gloved hands through the soil. The potatoes were perfect! A little small but what do you want when you plant in July. This took me less than 5 minutes.
Then I went into the garden to harvest the trench. The idea of the trench was to be able to pull the chicken wire lining the trench up and have the potatoes roll out of the soil. It wasn't that easy. The wire was hard to pull, cutting into my hands and the soil so heavy that I finally just dug out the excess soil in the trench until I found the potatoes. This took over half an hour and a lot of work and sweat. A couple potatoes had grown into the wire in spite of the straw lining. But the potatoes in general were just as beautiful and small as the potatoes in the tower.
Potato tower 7 lbs. Potato trench 12 lbs.

Since the trench was about 6 feet long with approximately 15 to 18 potatoes planted in it I will say it was equal to three (2 ft diameter) potato towers in size. The total for both plots was 19 lbs of russets. Not a bad haul for planting them in July. However if you compare the two techniques the trench should have produced 21 lbs. (not 12) to be equal to the tower. Given the fact that the trench was so much more work and produced less I will continue using the towers. BTW. The russets are really good.

My other conclusion is even if you have missed the normal planting date for your potatoes plant them anyway. These are an easy, delicious, and calorie dense crop that anyone should be able to grow and the biggest bonus of all? No pesticides! Potatoes (along with celery and strawberries) are one of the dirtiest chemical laden food you can buy at the store. Do yourself a favor and limit your families exposure to them and grow your own lovely potatoes.


Izzy said...

Awesome job and great info. I'll be trying towers on of these days!

Modern Day Redneck said...

Great job and thanks for the experiment. I have not planted potatoes in rows in a very long time, I always use the towers. I almost thought about doing a row this coming up year but now have decided against it.

Leigh said...

Well done on your potatoes! I confess to being a bit envious. I love these kinds of experiments and agree, better late than never when it comes to planting.