Confirmed: I Am A Terrible Potato Farmer

Several months ago I decided to try my hand at growing potatoes in containers.  The concept isn’t complicated, and there are tons of videos and internet references on how to do it, but the short version is:

1) get a container (I used 2 keg coolers).  drill holes in the bottom for drainage

2) fill the container with a layer of growing material:  I put a layer of 3/4 inch stone at the bottom (more drainage), then filled in a few inches with a nice mix of soil, peat, and composted manure.

3) insert your seed potatoes (special potatoes which haven’t been treated to inhibit sprouting), and cover with more growing material:  I put about 6-8 potato pieces with sprouting eyes in each of my 2 keg coolers

4) here’s the secret trick: as the potato plants grow, keep covering them with more growing material – this will get them to send out more tubers and thus make more potatoes.  I did this constantly.

There was only one problem: it didn’t really work.   The problem could be that my potato plants, which were looking healthy and monstrous, suffered the same fate as their relative – the tomato – does at my house every year: BLIGHT.   So maybe the would-have-been potatoes didn’t have time to mature before the plants died.  I dunno.  All I know is that when I emptied the two keg coolers today and dug through the dirt looking for buried treasure, all I found were this many potatoes (combined in the 2 containers):

sad violin

sad violin

Total investment was about $16 for the 2 keg coolers, $20 for soil/peat/manure, and $5 for the seed potatoes.

Result: epic fail

Will I attempt this again?  no – only because we have found that we absolutely cannot beat the blight. With the tomatoes, we tried using containers with purchased soil (in case the blight was in our soil) – didn’t work.  This year we bought a full grown tomato plant.  The plant still got blight and the tomatoes rotted as they matured.


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