Ever since first reading about cultivating potatoes vertically rather than horizontally, I’ve been wanting to try this, so in between planting trees and raising beds, I also made a raised potato bed. At just under a cubic metre in size, it should hold around 2 dozen potato plants at maximum recommended density for container-growing.
The bin is bottomless, free-standing, and comprised of interlocking layers of planks which will be added and filled a layer at a time as the potatoes grow. The bottomless wooden construction allows the compost to breathe and drain, which it must do if the container isn’t going to end up filled with a nasty stagnant sludge rather than lots of healthy potatoes. To help supply the necessary water, one of the irrigation channels terminates beneath it. It’s been planted filling the first two layers with soil and compost to a depth of 30cm and the chitted tubers at a depth of 15cm. For want of being able to obtain preferred old British varieties, I’m trying the ‘Bella Rosa’ red-skinned potato available locally which apparently has good drought tolerance and disease resistance.
If this works well, we will continue to grow our potatoes this way. With the necessity to rotate potato cultivation to avoid disease build-up in the soil, the prevalence of blight in this area, and the high maintenance nature of potato cultivation to obtain decent yields, this seems like an ideal solution.