by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Growing potatoes in raised beds works well but building a raised bed can be costly and requires hard work. An easy to build, inexpensive, useful and attractive alternative for growing of potatoes can be had by using cardboard boxes.
Because of the hard work of building raised beds and the cost of it I decided to use the existing beds for other crops rather than potatoes and left growing potatoes out for a couple of years.
However, this year I came up with the idea of cardboard boxes, in lieu of the potato patio planters which are rather costly to the tune of about US$35 around these parts of the world. I am thinking, though, of maybe building my own (oar maybe I can find a manufacturer who would like me to review a couple of them). So, I have took two boxes that I had lying about, lined them up in the garden and planted potatoes in the bottom of the box using a soil mixed with mild potting compost. As the potatoes grew, I have added more soil. So far they are growing beautifully but we don't know as yet as to how good they are producing and as to whether it works at all, though there seem to be some small potatoes already to be had.
Such boxes are free, can be quite attractive and will bio-degrade and compost at the end of the season. New ones can be set up the following year and years in different parts of the vegetable garden to help rotate the crops. The top flaps of the boxes can be closed to protect the tender plants from a late frost. It is easy to build up soil around the growing potatoes; harvesting is also easy. You can either reach in for new potatoes, or you can peel the rotting sides away at the end of the season.
It is important to consider that as with all container planting you may need to check a little more on the watering.
So, why not grow your spuds in cardboard planters? No cost (for the planters, I mean) and at the end of the useful life of the “planter” it will compost to soil.
© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008