Growing potatoes in a box

I grew up in Idaho. Yet I’ve never eaten a potato that I dug myself. It seems that a girl raised in a state with “Famous Potatoes” on the license plate should give potatoes a try. Also, I had fresh potatoes awhile back, and potatoes that just came out of the ground are a glorious thing.

So, I told my husband I wanted a potato box, he looked around for a plan, and he made something up for us. It fits neatly between our two raised beds and makes good use of some wasted space. He loosely based his plan on this design from from an article in the Seattle Times.

The basic idea for a potato box is simple. Build a frame of a reasonable size. Then slowly build up the sides of the frame, adding more dirt each time, as the potatoes get taller. Then, you can take of the sides at the lower edge of your frame, steal some potatoes, and then put the dirt and sides back on the box. You can move higher up the frame, harvesting potatoes, as your box and plants get taller.

This is our potato box with just one board.

And the potato box, now with two boards.

I also wanted to grow potatoes because it has been so much fun to read about everyone else growing them.

While it’s getting rather late to plant potatoes, if you’re feeling adventurous you could still try. I spoke to the awesome folks at Seattle Tilth and they said it would still be possible to do potatoes this season. I’m toying with the idea of adding one more crop of potatoes.

They suggested digging them into a hole and adding lots of nice compost. For this year, you’d want to do an early variety which will set fruit sooner, but not produce as much of a yield. Or you can simply put a nice potato box on your winter to-do list and enjoy fresh potatoes all next year.

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