Earlier this year, I wrote about my potato setup and the idea that using bins should result in higher yields in less space. While the plants themselves flourished, I’ve been less than impressed with the output, yet again. All told, we brought in a total of 20 pounds of potatoes, from seven different bins. I was hoping for a minimum of 25 pounds as a worst-case scenario, so being short that 5 pounds is a little disheartening. (It’s better than the 10 or so we got last year – that was awful.)
So what went wrong? As I emptied out the bins, I noticed a few things:
Because I was already wondering about the cedar trees, when I found some sprouting grocery store potatoes in my possession, I decided to plant them in a 5-gallon pot. Situated on the other side of my garden, I used the same soil/compost mix for planting, but they got a little more sunlight and definitely more water. The result: Almost 2 pounds of potatoes, in less space and time. They’re on the small side, but if I’d have left them in the pot longer, they would have continued growing. I dug them a little early, because I wanted to compare the yield against the bins.
I’m still sifting through the information, but I think I’ll give the bins one more try next year – just in a different location altogether, and definitely with more compost and water. If next year doesn’t yield better results, then it’s game over for the bins and we’ll go back to growing them in the ground and hilling them up like we used to.
All told, while I didn’t get the piles of potatoes that I was hoping for, I did get enough to store for the winter. We’ll probably end up buying some at the store when the holiday dinners roll around, but what we have will work for the two of us. I did, however, gain more information and insight into what the potato bins need, in order to be successful next year.