Since I was a kiddo, I've grown potatoes. I'd find a gnarly, leggy, wrinkly one in the cupboard and I'd sneak it out back and plant it in my mom's flower bed, which she did not exactly love. She also did not love it when, once, in a digging frenzy, I accidentally cut the phone line to our house. Sorry 'bout that, Mom...
My sneaky potato past not withstanding, I feel like I've grown and learned a thing or two over the years about growing the mighty spud. Just today I put my latest, greatest idea for growing container potatoes into action, using a spankin' new compost bin, of all things.
It might seem a little weird to grow potatoes in a compost bin, but if you have a compost bin and have ever thrown a potato into it, I'll bet that you've noticed that the discarded 'tater sprouted like mad. They love the dark, wet recesses of the compost heap, and they produce the best when new soil or straw are regularly added to cover their growing vines, which is pretty much exactly how the ol' compost pile works. And so, I embraced my potatoes' love of the damp and dark of the compost bin and bought a new one expressly for the purpose of growing potatoes in it.
Here she is, the wonder bin-
This bin is actually meant to be 3 tiers high, but I'm going to wait for the vines to come up a bit before adding the 3rd layer, all the while covering them with soil/compost/straw as they pop through and keep on going until I have all 3 layers chock-full of taters. Note the netting on top. This is to deter my bottomless-pit chickens from climbing in and scratching and pecking my tater bin to death. My fingers are crossed that this will work, because we're using the same "bird netting" on all of our raised beds this year. I love my hennies dearly, but when it comes the the garden, they are like a plague of locusts and must be stopped from devouring the whole kit & caboodle.
I planted just 6 potatoes in the bin - 3 Yukon Golds (my fav), 2 Yellow Finn and 1 nubbly-old Russet that we had in the cupboard. I'll be interested to see how much my 2 lbs of seed potatoes yield. As I do with pretty much everything I grow, I'll do my darndest to keep track of the pounds harvested to give myself (and you) an idea of what kind of return on investment can be expected for the relatively little time and trouble required to grow potatoes. Check back in August for a progress report.