Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

Potato bin

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.

Potato bin built from wooden planks

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.

Potato bin

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.

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  1. mike March 26, 2011

    you are an inspiration to all! thoroughly enjoy following all the progress!

  2. Paula April 7, 2011

    This is a simple and smart way to build a box of potatoes. We made ??ours from an 1×1 old compost bin but without much success. I think the land used was not indicated for growing potatoes. This year we will try again but only in August, when the Colorado beetle does not attack so much around here.

    Good luck and good harvest! “:O)
    ? ? ?

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