1992 - Volume #16, Issue #3, Page #30[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Easy Way To Grow PotatoesNeil McKerracher of Calmar, Alberta has come up with a clever new way to grow potatoes that eliminates Wiling and weeding and makes harvest easy.
He plants potatoes in a "crib" measuring 3 by 6 ft. and about 4 ft. high. The corner posts are 2 by 4's and the sides 2 by 6's which are spaced about 2 in. apart. Sprouted potatoes are planted so that they grow out the side of the crib. At harvest time, all he has to do is take the boards down and sort through the dirt.
"It eliminates a lot of the back breaking work and is also good for people with a small garden because a lot of potatoes can be produced from a small area," says McKerracher, who harvested 60 lbs. of potatoes from his crib last year.
To plant, he covers the bottom of the crib with a mix of soil, compost, peat moss and vermiculite until it reaches the top of the bottom 2 by 6. Then he places sprouted potatoes on top of the soil spaced about 6 in. apart all around the perimeter of the crib, positioning the tip of the spout so it will grow out the side.
Then another layer of soil is added until the next 2 by 6 is covered and again, potatoes with sprouts are planted around the perimeter. This layering process continues until the crib is filled to the top. On the top layer, potatoes are spaced evenly all across the crib (not just on the perimeter) and then covered with soil for the final time.
"Some people have asked me where to buy sprouted potatoes. To me, that's like asking how do you grow dandelions in a lawn since I store my potatoes in a basement room and they automatically sprout out by spring," says McKerracher.
He has never planted more than four tiers high but says he doesn't think there's any reason you couldn't go several layers higher. He waters the crib regularly since the elevated soil seems to dry out fast. In mid-September, he opens to harvest. The 60-lb. yield last fall worked out to 3 1/2lbs. per sq. ft. over on the 18 sq. ft. plot.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Neil McKerracher, Calmar, Alberta, Canada (ph 403 985-3424).
(Excerpted from Grainews)
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