Monday, April 28, 2014

Potatoes in a Barrel, Update I

About this time next week, we'll add our first layer of dirt, probably with a little straw mixed in, as it's already extremely heavy when wet. Plus, I made a couple discoveries* that might change this science project as we test.

I have not been able to confirm the rumor that pole beans drive off potato beetles, so while we're going to plant some anyway once we add our last layer of dirt, we will be adding a couple other plants as companions as well.

Horseradish apparently provides pretty good protection from the bugs that harass potatoes, so I will be adding at least one of those, maybe more. That's easy since I now have two full patches of the stuff.

Marigolds deter beetles.  I've got marigolds everywhere this year - in fact, I'm hoping that it can become my replacement for Sevin dust.  I suspect that planting seeds might produce plants too late to be of use to my potatoes, so I'll have a few full-grown plants in waiting.  Hopefully next week I'll have a post that will reveal that strategy.

One item of note: I did not plant all of my potatoes in the barrel. Because there just wasn't enough room for them all, I dropped a few in a raised bed that was ready for seed.**  While the barrleeled potatoes took off almost immediately, the ones in the raised beds did nothing: so much nothing that I had forgotten I put them there until I accidentally dug them up today planting radishes over them.

* Or non-discoveries.  Science is not an exact science.
** I usually give my raised beds a couple weeks to sprout all their weeds before I hoe and plant.  Though after today, I have no more waiting for plants even though I still have plants to plant.


  1. Science is science, until you do something with it, then it's engineering, which... absolutely... isn't science. Which is why I am so dubious when anybody suggests that something is science, as proof. Stick with statistics. Then I know you are fibbing right off, especially if you are a scientist. Just... saying. No, no, I love science, for what it is. Enjoy the heck out of it, if I prefer engineering mind you. But it isn't proof, is all, it is an open question.

    Anyway... I'm quite curious how your potatoes do. I really might have to consider that. Do... potatoes really last well, in the winter, down in the basement/root cellar? And I have never seen good home-grown taters. What kind? Reds? Just... new or dubious prospects I am curious about.

    Oh, I do remember you discussing bad potato times in your youth, just can't remember if you had better experience all growed up!

  2. This is my first experience in three decades or so. Potatoes were always one of those things that were so cheap they never seemed worth the effort. Garden space always seemed better spent on horseradish and tomatoes. But depending upon how well this project turns out, I just might have to expand production.

    Not sure on the storage - they never seemed to last long enough to find out how long they last, so to speak.

  3. I have my seed potatoes, I have a barrel. I have some soil. I just need to combine the three.