Spring is so in the air – we hit 90 degrees last week with the other days in the 70’s and 80’s. I had to get my hands into the dirt! Last weekend I spent about 6 hours cleaning up the remnants from the accident in my backyard in December, pieces of fence, car and glass and I filled 4 bags with dead plants and dead plant parts. It was a very depressing day in the yard. I am still fighting with insurance over the replacement of my landscaping, solar lights and compost bin – I think I miss my compost bin the most! It makes me cringe to put my kitchen scraps in the garbage, wish we had a community compost program.
Since my yard is a do-over, I decided that I am going to use most of the space for produce. I was trying to decide on what to do in the area they had to cut the tree down (to put up the new fence), since the root system covers a large area. I thought about putting in a raised bed, but then I would have to transplant the few plants that did survive and I did not want to take the chance of killing them, especially my wild geranium and toad lily. I don’t remember where I saw this, whether in a book or magazine or on-line, but it was about making gardening fun and easy for kids. One of the great ideas they had was to grow potatoes in burlap bag – this makes it easier for the kids to harvest. As the plants grow you just cover higher and higher with mulch or hay – the top of the bag being the limit. When harvest time comes, slice open the bag, spread the dirt and harvest the potatoes. It seemed like a good idea and I could do this over the tree root system and a couple of other areas where digging is not possible.
Burlap Bag Potato Gardening
Potatoes that have “eyes” growing
Burlap (or if you can find burlap bags)
Crampons (see note below)
Organic gardening soil
Mulch or hay/straw
Note 1: I could not find burlap bags, but had some burlap left over from winter covering. Some of the burlap has Velcro and then to close up the sides even more I used a stapler, faster and easier than stitching up. If using my method you will needs pins to secure the burlap to the ground – you can get a pack at a gardening or Home Depot, pack of 10 for about $2.50.
Note2: Directions are given for burlap, if you have burlap bag start at step 4.
1. Loosen the soil under where will be placing your burlap.
2. Close up the side of the burlap about half way up.
3. Secure the bottom of the burlap to the ground, in a circle or as close to a circle as you can make.
4. Fill the bottom to about 3” with organic garden soil.
5. Place the potatoes on the soil, about 12” apart.
6. Cover the potatoes with another 4 – 5” of organic garden soil.
7. Place about 10” of mulch or hay/straw on top of the soil.
8. Water (I let Mother Nature take care of that).
Now you just have to let nature do its thing. When you start to see the plants coming through, place more mulch/hay/straw on top – allowing the top of the plant to see the sun.
Will do another post when we are harvesting. I am pretty excited to see how easy it is to harvest and how well they grow this way. If this works, will be doing all my potato growing this way in the future – will prevent the nicks that usually happens when getting them out of the soil. Stay tuned for the next episode in September or October!