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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Does anyone remember my Great Potato Experiment of 2009? Well it was not as successful as the Smartpot claimed it would be.

I ordered these cloth pots from Gardener's Supply this past winter. Their sales pitch sold me and it made sound, logical sense to grow in a container that would do the root pruning for me and yield 10-13 pounds of potatoes per bag. Hah!
My pototes grew beautifully and I was so sure that they were full to capacity in there.  They got so tall I was worried they would fall over before they were supposed to.
The directions say that when the greenery starts to die back they are ready to harvest. So harvest we did.
Doyle dumped the grow pots into the wheel barrow and Maecy and I dug for the potatoes I was so sure were in there. Of course like most teenagers, Maecy wasn't on board with helping but my hubby reminded her that this was just the same as Easter but the eggs were under the dirt. Reluctantly she agreed to be helpful. Sometimes my husband cracks me up. Sometimes, not so much.
I will say that we had plenty of marble sized tubers in there. It was a sad day in potato land for sure. 
We ended up harvesting 27 pounds of Yukon Golds, Red LaSodas, and Red Norlands. Not great but not a total failure. 
Next year we will plan to plant them in the ground. I can hill potatoes the old fashioned way. My lazy man's way out was not what I had hoped. Sometimes my experiments are first rate and a staple for me and sometimes they aren't quite what I had them chalked up to be. This was one of those ones. But oh well, I do live in the Potato State, I can probably find a decent potato if I have to. Better luck next time!


  1. Well at least you tried something new. Not your fault it didn't work as advertised.

  2. Hi Heather~~ Great looking spuds, despite the disappointing experiment. It's always fun to try though, isn't it?

  3. Heather,
    Over my way if I bought those potatoes at the farmers market it would have cost $54 so you didn't have a bad harvest. And those fresh potatoes are organic and yummy. We live and we learn.

  4. I tried the same product this year and have come to the same conclusion. Although I still have half of my bags to go the yield is very low. Right now I believe I know how you are feeling.

  5. If only we had of harvested half the taters you did, I'd be doing the happy dance!

  6. Wow, 27 pounds sounds like a lot to me!

    My failure of the year has been squash - total harvested: 0!!!

  7. Thanks for the feedback. I did not get around to them this year but was going to try next year. I'm having the same problem with container gardening. The herbs, lettuce-type plants (lettuce, swiss chard, etc.) love the containers. The sugar snap peas, beets and radishes did not. My yields were very poor.

    - dogear6

  8. Even experiments that "don't work" tell you a lot, huh? I'm going to see how well my container-grown spuds did. I tried to figure out what variety would grow best in this way, and we'll see when they finally finally stop growing. If they ever do!

  9. I tried using those nylon woven feed bags one year. It was ok, but actually easier to plant them in the ground--if you have ground to plant in. Potatoes look very good though. You gave me an idea for a blog. I did an experient with straw this year. Half the patch I mulched heavily--like 2 feet as I planted, the other half I mulched later and at the same time remulched the first half. The heavier mulched side outproduced the other half by almost double.

  10. I too think 27lbs is darn good! Like your attitude though..better harvest for sure next year!

  11. oh crap. i have the same pots and we'll see. thanks for sharing!

  12. There is nothing better than Idaho spuds! Yours look great! Loved the idea your hubby told Maecy to think of it as an Easter egg hunt! LOL. The nylon bags seem like a great idea. I haven't seen you in my neck of the woods for a while. I hope I haven't offended anyone.

  13. Too bad it didn't work! lol about the Easter egg hunt! I'll have to remember that!! :)
    I remember some folks on the Organic Gardening forum used cardboard boxes to grow the potatoes in, and just ripped the box when it was time to harvest. I'm growing sweet potatoes, I usually consider myself lucky if I end up with enough to make a side dish for dinner.

  14. It's a shame when you work so hard and then don't reap the rewards (or the tons of potatoes in this case). But the fun of digging through the dirt makes up for any lack of produce as far as I'm concerned. Enjoy the potatoes. Nice to see you grew our local favorites - Yukon Gold. They must be Canada's favorite potatoe.

  15. hmmmmm.... I've got two of those smart pots myself... no offense, but I hope mine fair better than yours. :) This is the first time I've tried them, too. the foliage has not started to die back yet but I'll let you know how it goes when I do harvest them.

  16. THats the thing with potatoes and carrots and onions etc.. you never know what's down there. Oh well, live and learn.

  17. Heather,
    Yes, I do some experimenting as well. Potatoes in tires, not so great. This year, in the ground, much better!
    Thanks for sharing this story with us.

  18. Hi Heather,

    Sorry you were not pleased with the harvest on our bins. We just harvested a couple last week and got about 5 pounds per bin. We suspect the yields are low because we harvested a little early. There's a lot of late blight in the region this year.

    Here's a little more about how we got the results:

    For highest yields, we recommend planting potatoes in the ground. We've had great success with our raised beds.

    Keep in mind that we stand behind everything we sell. If you're not happy, contact us and we'll make it right:

    Thanks for sharing your results.

    -David, Gardener's Supply

  19. We've tried a couple of different ways to grow potatoes and have determined this year... that they've grown the best when sown into existing hills. More work up front, but better yield. Did a row that way and two where we hilled as they grew. Pre-hilled was better. Late blight has set in on them, but the potatoes have been looking okay as we dig them up so far. The plants, however are mush and stink to high heaven... I need weigh what we've hauled in so far, but two 90 foot rows have filled 4 milk crates to the rim so far...still digging.

  20. This is nice blog and the post is just awesome As always, I’m impatient for lusher greenery.

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We started this blog in Feb. of 2009 to help us stay motivated and to track our progess in the garden. We live on 5 acres surrounded by Idaho farmland. We have wildlife galore and are attempting to attract more in the bird catagory. This is our journal. Welcome!


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