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jnunez918
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potatoes in cardboard box?

do you think you can grow potatoes in a cardboard box? my thinking is that you can line the box and I will last just long enough for early potatoes and at harvest the bottom should break off. Thought?
Jennifer
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jnunez918
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I have no set plan but just curious about ideas. Looking a cheap way.
Jennifer
Austin, TX Zone 8b

DeborahL
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I grow tomatoes right in the bag of potting soil.
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jnunez918
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if i were to use the 5-gal buckets from home depot how many pieces should I put in without crowding?
Jennifer
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Dillbert
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if you're growing this on a hard surface / patio / deck . . .

my knee jerk reaction is you probably could get away with an unlined corrugated box - especially for harvesting them small aka new potatoes.

if you want to line it - plastic trash bag. cut a big X in the bottom of the plastic bag so it doesn't turn into a swimming pool...

being porous, the vertical sides will stay reasonably "dry" - wetness/moisture really saps the "strength" of corrugated - or any paper. "garden dirt" will be too heavy though - probably would burst the box - you'll need to use a soil-less mix, with at most 20% by volume of "dirt"

the cost of that kind of soil-less mix is going to be more than anything else.

never grown potatoes in a plastic bucket - heard good and not so good results.

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jal_ut
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if i were to use the 5-gal buckets from home depot how many pieces should I put in without crowding?
By the time you buy a bucket and potting soil to fill it, you would do better by just buying some spuds. Any way if you want to try it, I would say a piece of seed potato with two eyes on it would be just right for a 5 gal container. Fill the bucket 2/3 full and plant the set. As the vine grows add some more soil to cover the developing tubers well. You will need to water and fertilize regularly. Be sure to make some drain holes in the bottom of the bucket.
do you think you can grow potatoes in a cardboard box?


Sounds risky. Once cardboard gets wet it loses its strength. I think it would fall apart very quickly. Even if you line it you need to make drain holes in the liner so the box will get wet.

Are there any bakeries around? They buy supplies in buckets and you may be able to get some inexpensive buckets. I have grown small trees in buckets for a couple of years until they got some size, so maybe you can grow a potato in a bucket OK?
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jal_ut
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Looking a cheap way.
I don't have any idea what your resources are as far as garden beds or yard space. The most inexpensive way would be to just dig up a spot in the yard and plant a tater. Later as it grows mulch it deep with grass clippings or compost.

Other than that, a free container and inexpensive soil would be nice. OK, come on gang, tell us where to look for free, or inexpensive containers.
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Cheap. Place the potato on the ground and cover it. That's about as cheap and easy. Shredded paper may even work.

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jal_ut wrote:
Looking a cheap way.
OK, come on gang, tell us where to look for free, or inexpensive containers.
I don't know about containers but in my local area small Square straw bales a pretty inexpensive at 2 dollars each, and if you arange 4 of them on there sides you can make a makeshift Square container/bed.
I would then place the potatoes at the bottem on top of a layer of newspaper and cover them with more straw.


Here is a pic of my corn bed (from this season just after i had sown the corn seeds) using the small Square straw bales to make a rased Square bed. [img]https://i1123.photobucket.com/albums/l546/Nickolas28/quarantine109.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1123.photobucket.com/albums/l546/Nickolas28/quarantine016.jpg[/img]

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rainbowgardener
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For growing potatoes at least I would break up the ground real well under the cardboard and then break up the cardboard in to lot smaller pieces. I gather that you are using the cardboard for weed suppression?

But remember potato plants don't just have tubers, they also have roots:

[url=https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://www.ibguides.com/images/biology/9.1.4_potato_tuber.png&imgrefurl=https://www.ibguides.com/biology/notes/plant-structure-and-growth&h=355&w=579&sz=110&tbnid=hcr_qCygudTuFM:&tbnh=76&tbnw=124&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpotato%2Btubers%2Band%2Broots%2Bimage%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=potato+tubers+and+roots+image&docid=jk6haspJ7OMIjM&sa=X&ei=7P0KT6aXEafo0QGItYjFAg&ved=0CDYQ9QEwAA&dur=678]potato root system[/url]

The plant relies on the roots to provide water and nutrients to it; the tubers are just for storage. So it has to be able to root down into the ground, below the level where the tubers (potatoes) will be.
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rainbowgardener wrote:For growing potatoes at least I would break up the ground real well under the cardboard and then break up the cardboard in to lot smaller pieces. I gather that you are using the cardboard for weed suppression?

But remember potato plants don't just have tubers, they also have roots:

[url=https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://www.ibguides.com/images/biology/9.1.4_potato_tuber.png&imgrefurl=https://www.ibguides.com/biology/notes/plant-structure-and-growth&h=355&w=579&sz=110&tbnid=hcr_qCygudTuFM:&tbnh=76&tbnw=124&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpotato%2Btubers%2Band%2Broots%2Bimage%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=potato+tubers+and+roots+image&docid=jk6haspJ7OMIjM&sa=X&ei=7P0KT6aXEafo0QGItYjFAg&ved=0CDYQ9QEwAA&dur=678]potato root system[/url]

The plant relies on the roots to provide water and nutrients to it; the tubers are just for storage. So it has to be able to root down into the ground, below the level where the tubers (potatoes) will be.
ok, thanks. good thing i did't do a very good job laying the cardbord out(it is only one layer thick), and yes the layer of cardboard was for weed suppression but it hasent stopped the terrible cooch grass from pushing up though the cardboard and into the beds.

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applestar
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I did something similar to using a cardboard box to grow potatoes -- I used a bottomless box and used a stick every 6-8 inches or so stuck vertically in the ground out side the box to keep the sides from bowing out and bursting. For mulch, I used a mixture of grass clippings, compost, pine needles, and leaves. The cardboard sides were about 18" high. It worked very well. 5 seed potatoes in a 24"x24" space. Oh I used hay string to tie the sticks into a corral when the pressure started to push them outwards, and that served to help keep the potato plants from flopping when they got to be over 3 feet high.

For the cardboard-lined bed shown above, the standard recommendation is to cut an X in the cardboard, fold just enough away and snuggle a seed potato in the soil beneath, then cover with soil/mulch.

...now I want to pull out my potato catalog and order seed potatoes for pring.... 8)

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jal_ut
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In order to understand the potatoe plant's needs, you need to have an idea about the root [url=https://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010139fieldcroproots/010139ch15.html]development of the plant.[/url]

Take a look at this page. The tubers form just under the surface and that is why it is important to hill potatoes or put on a mulch, to protect the swelling tubers from seeing daylight and turning green. There is no need to keep piling on mulch or hilling more than necessary to cover the tubers. When this is done, you cover leaves that the plant needs to manufacture food for plant growth and storage in the tubers.

When grown in the ground, most plant roots go much deeper than many thought. To grow a plant in a container puts the plant at a disadvantage, but if adequate water and fertilizer is supplied to the container the plant may do quite well. For sure if growing in containers is your only option, do it!

Potatoes do benefit from a soil with good nitrogen content.
Last edited by jal_ut on Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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applestar
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I've seen your potato harvest so I know what you're saying is correct, jal.
I suspect that the mulching trick is maybe typically utilized and necessary for gardeners like me in a small space that don't have abundance of extra soil to even minimally hill up with. But your point is well taken. :wink:

[Edited to add: also, my general impression -- James let's his potato plants sprawl which provides a certain amount of their own "mulch". If you need to "stake"/support the plants due to planting space issues, you may need to supply a certain amount of additional mulch to ensure adequate level of coverage.]

I think we've had several threads about the "tower" technique for growing potatoes reporting varying results. I believe one of the important points about that method is that you need to choose a long season potato variety. A short-season variety is robbed of above surface growth too much before the tubers form.

In my experience, a short tower method works for me in a new bed where I typically build a no-till raised bed over clay subsoil. Another point in favor is that in my humid area, it seems to be better not to start with a trench and below-ground level planting, although choosing a disease resistant variety helps.

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jnunez918
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unfortunately container is my only way to go, i have 3 dogs that get a thrill out of digging
Jennifer
Austin, TX Zone 8b

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