The best sustitute for staw is Hay. I use discarded tractor tires from local farms. A second trimming around August may be required. Blend it into any soil or soilless substrate, or combine it with high-quality organic worm castings to add microbial life and fortify the nutritional value of your soil or planting mix. If you have a source for enough, sweet potatoes like sawdust better than dirt.
However, it is a very adaptable plant, and will grow well in almost any situation except a permanently water-logged soil. Hence, it is also very well suited to growing in containers. Buxus plants will thrive in any reasonable garden soil with adequate drainage.
Box prefers lime based ground, and wild buxus sempervirens plants will colonize the limestone bands in hilly areas with different rock layers.
However, when planted in acid soil, it also grows very well. In a container, box will grow in any reasonable garden compost with adequate nutrients see 'Food' below.
Peat, or peat plus loam, based composts generally produce better results than garden soil. Box succeeds in full sun or shade. Buxus sempervirens often occurs wild as an under-shrub in mature deciduous woods. But it will grow faster in relatively high light levels. Box grows wild in Mediterranean garrigue conditions, so can obviously withstand severe drought once the plants are established see 'water' below.
Moist, well-drained conditions produce maximum growth. It will not grow in permanently water-logged soil. Box can stand hard frosts, hot sun and strong winds when established in the ground. Feeding your box plant is essential for healthy growth when it is kept in a container, and something you may wish to do, but is not strictly necessary, if your topiary is planted in the ground.
Slow or controlled release fertilizer granules are the most convenient method of feeding, as they only need be applied infrequently. They should be placed in a hole in the top of the compost, or added with a top dressing of fresh compost.
The frequency of application depends on the life of the granules, which varies from about 3 to 15 months. Otherwise ordinary fertilizer granules or liquid feed can be used as required during the growing season.
If a box plant is short of nutrients, it will only grow very slowly. The leaves will tend to become coppery brown, or will develop cream or yellow tips and margins. Once good growing conditions are restored, the leaves will become uniform green again within a few weeks. Most topiary plants will have been grown in the open ground, and then lifted with a root-ball of soil attached to the roots and placed in a container a relatively short time before being sold. So, the plant will have lost a significant proportion of its roots, and will be susceptible to drying out for at least a year or two after planting.
Once the plants have become established in their new site, they will require far less watering, and after a few years they should be able to withstand any UK drought easily. Box naturally grows between about the months of April and June inclusive. So around mid-Summer is a good time to trim the new growth.
The new growth can be cut easily with scissors or shears. If the plant is in a container, then placing the container on a surface such as a table top, where it can be rotated, can make accurate trimming relatively easy.
If you would like to increase the size of the plant, then you can leave an inch or two of the new growth each time the plant is trimmed. In this way, the size can be increased while maintaining the thick bushy appearance of the plant. A second trimming around August may be required.
If the foliage becomes too thick, it is a good idea to periodically thin out the growth by removing some branches around inches long. The neighbouring branches will cover the hole, and this pruning will allow more light and air into the centre of the plant. This thinning of the plant is especially useful with dense plants which are susceptible to fungus attacks in certain situations, for example buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa'.
Any plant in a container has a smaller root ball than the same sized plant growing in the ground. Box grows relatively well in containers compared to most other plants, but will need more watering and feeding than a plant in the ground, especially in exposed sites.
It is desirable to pot the plant on into a larger container at intervals of about two years, to allow the root ball to increase in size as the plant grows. If this is not possible, then top-dressing with a layer of fresh compost will certainly help.
Also, it may be worth taking the plant out of the pot, and removing some of the roots and then putting it back in the container with some fresh compost may help rejuvenate your topiary plant. Normally making sure the plant has food, water, light, air and shelter, possibly including moving it to a different site, will cure any problems.
Not many things eat box. Rabbits and deer will only consume buxus if no other food is available. In practice this means that box is not eaten by large animals. Sometimes small insects attack the leaves. These may be leaf burrowing or scale forming creatures.
There are various, generally fungus related, diseases that can affect buxus plants, especially where the growing conditions are not ideal eg too dry or water-logged soil, or too dense foliage.
The best way to control any of these diseases is generally to improve the growing conditions as much as possible see above , remove any badly affected branches, and to spray with a fungicide if a fungus infection is a possibility eg if the leaves are going brown or black, or falling off. Box plant leaves will go a coppery brown colour if the plant is short of nutrients, or if it is exposed to very cold winds, or to prolonged frosty weather.
One of the commonest problems with box topiary in containers in the UK seems to be the leaves going brown or coppery after a few months to three years, because all the nutrients have been leached from the compost and no feed has ever been added to the pot. This difficulty is very easily rectified by adding some fertilizer see Food above , and the brown leaves will become green again within a few weeks.
The leaves turn green again as the weather warms up in Spring. If a buxus plant is unhappy, it usually makes this known through the colour of its leaves. That idea sounds well worth trying in chilly Colorado next year. Last year I used big black pots and black grow-bags, and did sort of OK well anyway somewhat better than the miserable harvest the year before with wire mesh potato towers.
I feel that the black plastic got the contents too hot, hence trying lighter colors this year. I did everything as per the instructions, adding soil as the potatoe stalks grew. What do you think happened? I am totally just shooting in the dark here without more informnation. But, if you followed everything in th instructions, have you checked that you had adequate levels of sunlight during the whole season?
I did a similar system like this in an urban gardening environment. It took me the first year to get the whole garden installed and only was able to plant a couple beds the first year. An already existing tree below my garden on a very minor but obvious slope was the perfect thing to shade seedlings and aid starts at transplant.
But in the second year it was growing really tall because it essentially had all the runoff of the garden nutrients. In the 5th year the tree essentially blots out the entire lower portion of the garden, so it is primarily used for herbs, chives etce. I have grown potatoes in tires stacked on top of each other as the sprout comes thru I add more dirt till I get to the heighth I want.
Then when they are done, I take off each tire. I did not his last year. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I finally quit when box was half full. Made potatoes, but not worth the effort of finding or buying enough soil to fill the box.
You can grow them in old car tires also. Just put down a tire or 2 and put in your potatos and some straw and dirt. They grow inside the tire,you reach down in and pull out what you need. I asked my tyre merchant about this and he said the amount of chemical materials the tyres collect off the roads over their lifetime seeps into the tyre rubber and will leach out into your potato crop as the insides become damp with watering.
Do you really want this in your potato crop? And before you ask, i did use this method…but now I use the method described above with the boards or with large containers. But you cannot get out the first layer of tire without disturbing the entire crop. The whole tire thing is overblown.
There has been no evidence to date that supports the toxic leaching theory — it remains just that… a theory. Now, it seems like a no-brainer, I admit.
Tires are an artificial petro-chemical product, run on the wicked bad roads where cars travel. God knows, but such things MUST be bad, right? But of all the information Ive seen the only substantiated problem arises with tire SHREDS used for mulch, which exhibit high levels of zinc leaching. Research suggests that a microscopic amount of arsenic migrates out of the wood, but arsenic levels in the subject soils are no higher than that which naturally exists in the soil.
I agree with MountainMan and Ian. No chemicals in my food, please! Ahh, I long for the good old days when all of our food was organic! Actually, it can be again. Carbon forms the key component for all known naturally occurring life on Earth. ALL food IS organic! If you are eating anything that is not organic, you should see the Dr.
That is also outdated advice. Most arguably all modern and consumer available pressure treated wood is safe for vegetable garden use. Some is only heat treated, others use safe antimicrobial chemicals such as copper products. Wood also leaches chemicals into the food. Perhaps you can post the scientific study from which you base you conclusions on? I know how no one who has actually achieved these big yields.
Would they die a horrible death? Been using tires and pressure treated wood in various garden projects for years and other than an occasional tic, have no issues. The third eye has been REAL handy watching the birds down at the beach.
The real answer is there have been ZERO studies that have shown conclusive evidence that tires or pressure treated wood is a detriment to any food product grown in them or in close proximity to them. We have very few things we still have control over but growing our own food is still one so do it as natural and clean as you can or you may as well just buy the stuff in the stores. You can use tiers if they do not smell like rubber any more.
They need to leak out the toxin in them at first then they will be perfectly fine to build or grow in. Yes rubber does contain extremely small amounts of certain heavy metals but one needs to know that these compounds are fixed tightly in the rubber matrix and do not leach.
If the tires were that porous, they would never be able to hold air. The important thing to remember is to not use cut tires, if you are growing rooted plants. Tires and pressure treated wood are full of all kinds of toxins. They will poison the soil, and food that you are growing for you and your family. Happy and safe gardening to you and yours. Plastic containers and bags are made of petroleum products…..
No harm comes to them? How many people in this country have illnesses and diseases that never occurred 60 or more years ago, before the advent of the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to every day??
Stop and think before you use things like pressure treated wood and used tires. Tires are made from natural latex from the para rubber tree.
Tires are for cars! They are made for cars. They are tested for cars. They work great on cars. Nobody would care to do any research on growing food in tires. Further more, there is no reason to use tires for growing your food. Really, cause I have been using tires for years, and I bet I am healthy as an ox. My squash and pumpkins all ready have fruit July 2nd where other gardens in the area have little starter plants. My plants are waist high now, with a zillion blooms.
Anyone whom has visited my garden has copied it. I use discarded tractor tires from local farms. They are bigger and deeper. They are raised and generate heat to the root system. Along with the squash I put corn or sunflowers in the middle.
Right now my sunflower plants are way over my head. Our garden has 29 large tractor, and skidder tires in it. Our gardens are made up of recycled everything, raised beds, tires, metal structures vertical planting , head boards from old beds, old windows for cold beds.
I only wish I could post pictures here. All the illnesses we suffer now rather than 60 years ago is partially down to better diagnosing by docs, worse lifestyles we all live and other combined effects around us. I built a tower with them, filled with dirt and was huge amount of potatoes. Lots of people have access to old tires that have been improperly disposed of. Finding ways to repurpose what otherwise might be burned resulting in air pollution is a good way to save a little money.
Make do with what you have handy. The water that comes off the roof has a little bit of tar from the shingles, and that is going right into the yard where the food is grown anyway.
Honestly the fluoride added to drinking water is a lot more harmful. We live in a polluted world and we must eat. There is nothing pristine about the growing conditions on factory farms. If you want pollution free food, you must grow it in a lab environment.
Tires have not been pure rubber for over a hundred years. If you use tires in your garden you are importing heavy metals into your soil, crop and at some point you.
While the chemical into the tire myth is false. Tires are not a good idea for human food production. Remove all tire swings from backyards, parks, school yards, campgrounds, church playgrounds, etc. Also remove all pressure treated lumber from your decks, porches, house construction, sandboxes, playgrounds, wooden jungle gym sets, etc…. Why add to the burden when there are other alternatives?
There are also plants that you can plant to help take toxins out of your garden soil ie, comfrey, etc. Look into permaculture for an easy, organic way of growing food, even in small spaces. I think you are taking it a little to the extreme! A little white trash, perhaps, but my parents, who are now old enough to tell the same stories over and over, used to plant a potato plant and throw an old tire over it.
Continue this process until you have a big stack of tires filled with round, dirt free potatoes. How does it work without tires? The closest I recall was to grow them in straw. Still eliminates the necessity to remove dirt from the potatoes, but does provide a growing medium. Never tried it my self, but, I know a man who had a concrete driveway. He put about 1 foot of straw on the driveway, planted his potatoes in the straw and watered them.
He kept the straw about 1 foot deep. At harvest time he got his potatoes, no dirt. Threw the straw away. To my knowlage he got a good crop every year!
This was in the Willamette valley Oregon. Listen up you only put the seed potatoes in the first tire with when you you see green leaves add another tire no more seed potatoes and then use straw REPEAT til your tires are as high as u want the straw makes much lighter and easier than dirt and at harvest time take top tire off and taters will fall out need more remove another tire a friend said his grew so many taters it was lifting the tires and he only used 6 seed taters in first tire Just make sure you feed and miracle grow and they will GROW.
Glad you folks liked it. I too considered tires long and hard in my quest for the perfect growing method for tight spaces. You could get very fancy with your boards and add hinges and clasps to your boards. That would make it easier to rob potatoes and maybe add life to the box. Seems like I have to keep telling this same story over and over……. I am gonna try this myself. Thanks for the post. I help grow real palm trees at a Florida Nursery and we do the same concept but with the more exotic palms like the Lipstick palm.
I have never tried growing potatoes in 4 square feet but now at least I will have a fighting chance! Harvesting a crop includes killing the plant and ending the potential for more growth. Those are all examples where you ahem harvest the product and the plant continues to produce more that season or next year.
Does it matter what you call it? It also means you can check to see how things are going and can gauge the size of some of your crop. Bandicoots are native to Australia and are marsupial animals that dig down under plants looking for food.
It works, and not much mess as the stray will decompose into the soil and the straw also keeps out weeds.
I use a low-tech version of this in the UK. I use old plastic compost sacks. Where the soil covers the stem, new roots and more potatoes form giving a much heavier crop than normal.
There are the potatoes. I find they keep well over winter in their bags of soil as long as I cover them to keep them dry and protected from frost.
That is pretty brilliant, for ease of use, and recycling. From what I have read, after the roots are good, you dont need more nutrients on top. Actually,going by what I am reading from various peoples experience, all they need is a dark place on the plant to form a potatoe.
I love it so much that I have a use for all the mulch bags I saved and can grow potatoes in a smaller space, living in Arizona I am blessed to grow my food yr round and this will be a fantastic addition.
Sounds so easy — even I could do it. If you use clear bags and only straw, I wonder if you can see the potatoes growing… I like to use those Reds when their small. Store some potatoes in the cold room and give some away. Thanks for the tip! We live on a wooded lot with only one small area that gets enough sunlight.
Actually Potatoes grow well in partial shade……as in under some trees……give it a try!!!!!!!! Great idea but I would use another kind of wood in Florida because of termites. Maybe a large planting bucket and cut out the hole in the bottom but do the same planting effect as with wood. I think I am going to acquire a large stack of food grade buckets and cut the bottoms out. Upside down, of course. You can try using a gal plastic drum. Living in an apartment has become quite the gardening dilemma.
If you have a source for enough, sweet potatoes like sawdust better than dirt. Take the lumber plans and material list to your local lumber yard and they will be able to suggest substitutes that will work well. Consider Trex, and similar materials…. But not treated wood — I always worry that the chemicals in treated wood will leech into the garden. Snails definitely die when they try to climb up my raised beds that are made from it.
I coated my beds inside with two coats of latex paint and then covered that with clear plastic. I have grown potatoes in S. My first attempt was a limited success due to my overwatering, some of the lower spuds rotted. It should work well. You may be able to throw some compost material in — grass clippings, tree leaves, coffee grounds — as you go? Compost is a good idea, but the coffee grounds may throw the Ph off to a more acidic level than most would use for potatoes.
You can have several small stacks dotted around, the plastic will not rot, you are recycling something that would just go to landfill, and if you can support it against a wall or tree, you can have one a foot across and 5 feet tall.
I too have semi-retired, small condo. Great idea but a suggestion for those who are a lil afraid of the construction aspect, Get yourself a plastic garbage can, drill a few holes around the bottom edge for drainage and there you go,works great..
Simply add about 6 inches of compost. Put in the seed potatoes and cover with a few inches of compost. As the tops grow up add more compost and reap the rewards at the end of the season. Get a can with wheels and it makes for easy moving and is reusable for years Actually, no, wheels on the garbage can are not terribly useful — unless you have a seriously heavy-duty garbage can.
My first plant is in a can with wheels. I broke the handle on mine trying to tip it back, and the weight of the dirt, plant and water makes the can kind of sag around the wheels. So I just put them in a good place and leave them alone all winter. I grew mine in a plastic garbage can. I drilled holes in the bottom and had left over red cedar mulch so I used that. It worked like a charm and i do it every year now.
I got the green can at Walmart for under 20 bux. Basically, all you need to do is drill 5 holes in the bottom. One in the center and 1 on each corner for drainage. Be sure not to over water potatoes because the bottom ones will rot. Holes will help drain excess water to prevent the rotting. I also drilled holes on the sides of the garbage can for air circulation — gets really warm. They were using larger beds, but same concept.
We live in a very short-season area, but a bed this small could be easily protected or even grown in a greenhouse. You need not buy lumber. There are plenty of used wooden pallets that are free for the taking. They are usually made of hard woods and last a long time. Just cut the pieces from them. You will recycle, help clean up Mother Earth and enjoy a bountiful harvest.
Before sailing the seven seas, I was privileged to be a steward of a 98 acre organic farm in south central Kentucky. Want to try this potato growing concept but what about potato seedlings. Any suggestions for potato starter seeding varities sources etc. Can you just carve left over potato that came from supermarket allow to dry then plant.
Can you start grow inside in say basement then move out doors as weather warms up. Suggestions on seeding and seed preperation for best results. Store-bought potatoes have been treated with a growth inhibitor to keep them from sprouting. The absence of this inhibitor is what makes seed potatoes seed potatoes. I use organic potatoes from the store for my crops. In fact, if you leave an organic potato in the mesh bags they come in, they will all begin to sprout within 30 days.
My red potatoes from the grocery store were sprouting so I thought I would try cutting them and planting the eyes and sprouts in the container with my tomato plants.
I now live in an apartment so I am limited in the space. I am delighted to see red potatoes popping up out of the top of the soil! I am amazed at their size! I have no idea what may be developing below the surface. I guess I will find out when the tomatoes are finished producing and I pull the plants out.
Simply put one potato in each pot. After the plants die back, I leave them in the pots until I need them. But be sure to harvest them before a freeze or they will be ruined. Regarding seed potatoes, I used to buy them. Now I just use supermarket potatoes…. As long as they are not moldy, incredibly shriveled, dried up old potatoes will grow.
Regarding those compost bags some call them Smart Bags, you can make your own by taking landscaping cloth and sewing up the side to make a tube. The wood seems like a better idea. I used plastic garbage cans med. Raise the bed as the plant grows. Add loses soil-basically mulch 3. Use late season plants. Dont use tires- could be toxic. Anyways just let them get about 6 to 8 inches tall and then cover with compost or straw and repeat.
When they start flowering i stop and let them finish making their taters. New to a town at the top of the coast of Maine, I decided to do it with truck tires and convinced my husband to get some for me.
Naturally all the potato farmers up there wondered what I was up to. Struggling we managed to get the first tire off, after that we just started toppling the stack. I harvested 5 potatoes, just 5!!! I even had a perforated pipe in the center for watering and aeration. I do think that was a good idea. Zero cost, lots of potatoes. Why must every blog or article on the Internet devolve into politicking? Politics are the duty of a responsible citizen.
Apathy leads to fascism and slavery. While politics may be the duty of citizens it does not need to be brought up in every discussion. Even easier to handle than soil, use straw! As the plants grow, add more straw. For harvesting, just push the straw aside, take what you want and put the straw back. No digging, no heavy soil to shift, and the straw beaks down over the winter to enrich your soil.
What i do not understand is if all you add is straw what is the potato plant going to FEED from? If there is not any dirt or compost and the straw is not going to be able to breakdown all that fast -does not the potato plant STARVE??
The plants use photosynthesis to make food, like most plants. Then you can add straw to encourage more potatoes. You can always spray with a foliar feed fertilizer, too, such as soluble kelp.
And water with compost tea every couple of weeks. The understanding I have, is that the roots stay at the bottom, with good soil, and straw or whatever it is, is just to provide a dark place where potatoes form. It is still feeding on dirt and compost. You can also use pine straw to cover! You can also use it for mulch in your garden. Many of my neighbors in FL have pine trees and rake and throw the pine straw in the trash. This way you can use things that would many would consider trash, and it makes your soil more acid for those plants that like acidity!
I think I will try this in my poly tunnel. We have three acres but this will allow for very early planting. Should get first new potatoes by mid Febuary. Much easier access to the potatoes and yams. Pantyhose stretch, you can cut with knife and then re-tie. I am in Scotland and this sounds ideal for my small garden. I am definately going to try this.
What variety for our climate. If not you will have straw growing everywhere and vigorously. The best sustitute for staw is Hay. Most hay is seedless when harvested. It has the same characteristics as straw for its use, breaks down at the same rate,is a great addition to compost and ammendments for your soil. Plus in a vegetable garden it acts as a wonder mulch to help retain moisture, suppress weeds and helps deter some pests. Not to metion it looks good as well. I work at a state historic site and design and maintain the working kitchen garden and have been using hay for over 10 years.
You sterilize straw or grass trimmings, or lawn-grass cuttings, even leaves—by putting in a black garbage bag, tie it, leave it in the hot sun and any seed in the straw or grass will die, and then you can use it as compost for your potatoes or anything else without the danger of growing weeds in your garden.
Any root crops do better in straw compost than in dirt, especially in hard clay or soil with poor drainage. I do the same, but the other way round. I use the spent straw from my coops to mulch with. They say that you should not use straw for your chickens and hay is better.
Only because straw is more tube-ish, and gives great hiding places to the bugs that are a nuisance to your chickens. Just some information I have run across. I use hay for my chickens. Here in Texas, the hay if full of grass and weed seeds. Straw is a by-product of raising grain such as oats and wheat. The oat and wheat seeds have been removed. Eva, great advice except you are backwards. Hay has seed ie. I am not sure that pallets are a good idea. Many are soaked in chemical preservatives.
Years ago arsenic was the potion of choice but lord knows what is put on them in strange countries. A lot of them may be hardwood and Ok……………but then dont ever cut them indoors as the dust is hazardous.
As I am already the prophet of doom could i also add its not a good idea to inhale smoke from burning pallets. Sometimes they have oil or other substances on them, so it is something to be careful with. But in general, pallets are safe to use. Actually they are treated.
All pallets are not treated. I work for a pallet company. Pallets being shipped from one country to another country must be treated or heated in a kiln. Most pallet companies I know heat treat the pallets in a kiln.
The reason for treating with a chemical or a kiln is to kill any bugs that might be hiding in the wood. This stops the transfer of bugs from one country to another. But pallets used exclusively within the US and not shipped outside the US do not need to be treated and are not treated because of the cost of the treatment.
I forgot to add, treated wood also has a green tint to it, so you can tell it apart from untreated. CCA, or, chromated copper arsenic, is the main culprit you all speak of.
There are processes that do not use the heavier metals, and do not toxify. At one time, they were more expensive, but I think pricing has leveled out a bit. Man, Its fun to finally use that knowledge. That seems like a lot of trouble, to dig out the potatoes from the bottom.
Never any digging or hard work. Yes this works wonders. My Dad used to dig a trench then lay the potatoes in and just add straw, as the potatoes grew he added more straw.
But very easy picking and no cleaning, they are already clean and seem to me to grow bigger. I have a raised vegetable garden bed. Once in awhile during the winter, the soil is turned over. There are some leaves in the garden bed too. Wow, I had russet, red bliss, yukon gold potatoes and all from the peelings thrown into the vegetable garden bed.
Bountiful supply in the spring. My great-grandparents never bought seed potatoes. They of course wanted to eat all the potatoes food was scarce in their day , so they would save potato eyes on the peelings to replant in the spring. I always thought you had to have a chunk of potato with the eye, but not so. The peelings with eyes will regrow potatoes! They also covered their potatoes lightly with soil and straw and just added more straw or lawn clippings. My father, raised in Mississippi, said his mother used to create a manure hotbed under a small area of the garden to start some vegetables early.
About a 4 foot thick bottom layer of hot manure, then add soil to plant on the top-most layer. The heat from the manure layer would warm up the planting soil enough to start earlier during cold weather. The older generations sure knew how to grow things! I grow organically and have always had bumper crops without fertilizing during the growing season by simply tilling in good organic fertilizer we have cow, chicken and pig manure mix on the farm in the fall or early spring.
Seems like the fall tilling of the manure works better—time to leach into the soil?? Thanks for the tips. The older generations are sages. I have a large back yard but everything I grow tends to spread everywhere and turns into a mess, so I like the confinement. The tire idea sounds excellent as well. It sounds practical to me.
And by the way — I could eat all pounds of potatoes. Good article, and good information — thank you. Even though regular pine boards get termites in them and rot rather fast, try not to use treated boards. The plants are supposed to be able to pull the chemicals out of the treated boards. Its better to replace rotten pine boards then to risk getting chemicals in your food.
Have you ever tried the black landscape fabric? Lay it down put potato on top lay next fabric on top cut small hole on top of potato , put straw or hay on top water potatoes grow between fabrics. Funny, there is a lot of cedar on the family land. Cedar is resistant to rot and insects. Good red cedar can last decades, Might want to try it. Chestnut was good as well, but is almost extint, due to a disease. We have used the stainless steel tub from our defunct washer for growing potatoes for the past few years, although we have only planted one layer.
I will be trying the suggestion of planting on the very bottom and then covering the plant as it grows. To stop the dirt from leaking out the holes, put a liner if weed barrier fabric around the inside of the tub. Hi, Thanks for the great info. I blogged about potatoes and included your link. My customers love information and I love to bring it to them. This is something they could do on their own. Last year I build one of these potato wood bins as you called them. I went to my local builder store and had them cut the boards to the length that I needed and bought the screws.
I planted my potatoes and grew 40 lbs of them, the best tasting potatoes ever. Two things I noticed when I did not water them enough that layer had little to no potatoes, could estimate by my vacation time and where the soil had not been softened with compost that layer had few potatoes.
I have had excellent potatoes all winter. The funny part was I was gone and then got sick and forgot about picking them so after we had a major freeze here in Colorado I expected them to be mush but I needed to take my bin down so started digging them out and it turned out they had not been affected by the freeze at all. Excellent way to grow…how many different things. Just wanted to share this with others, I did not get my lbs but who cares and with paying more attention to them with regular watering and good soil who knows…I was thrilled for my first year it was GREAT.
Hardwood leaves, especially oak carry nematodes that will keep your crop on the smallish, disfigured side.