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April 5th, 2012

Red Soda Taters.

A few months ago I posted about getting some free shipping crates and turning them into planks, out of which a potato box would be built.

A several weeks ago T.G. cut them to size and screwed them together.

The box in progress.

The box in place!

I lined the bottom with newspaper to help keep the weeds/grass from growing through it, then filled the bottom level with a cheapo dirt/sand mix. You know the phrase “dirt cheap”? If you’ve never bought just plain dirt before, like me you might be surprised to find out it really is, well, dirt cheap! Each 40 pound bag is just a little over $1.

I bought some seed potatoes from a local garden supply. The official name of these is “Red La Soda Potatoes”, but as you can see, this bag has been assimilated into the local dialect and shall be henceforth known as “Red Soda Taters”. This variety is heat and drought tolerant, and apparently gives a good yield quickly, so I thought it might be a good choice for growing in Texas and my first attempt at growing potatoes. Er, excuse me, I mean “taters”.

A couple of weeks ago, they sprouted!

Yay! Go, taters, go! As the vines grow, I’ll add boards to the sides of the box and cover the new growth with more dirt. When I get a few layers up, I should be able to start harvesting from the bottom, a la the method described on this site:
http://www.tipnut.com/grow-potatoes

Key word being “should”… We’ll see how it goes.

. . . .

Some of the onions which were overwintered in the beds started sending up flower stalks. I didn’t want to pull them this early, but I read that once onions start sending up flower stalks the bulbs start shrinking. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like there was much bulb to begin with.

I ended up just tossing them into the greenbelt for the bunnies and coyotes to eat (coyotes eat onions, right?). The bulbs were too small to make the effort of curing/cleaning/chopping worth the time. The greens were already being devoured by cutworms, which like to chew their way into a stalk and eat it from the inside out, filling it up with poop as they go. There were plenty of healthy, intact, non-poopy leaves, but … again, didn’t seem worth the effort.

I don’t know if it was the variety of onions (and I have no idea what they are — they were an impulse buy), the timing of planting them, the overly warm winter, or some combination thereof or something else entirely that went wrong. But next time I decide to plant onions, I’ll be doing more research prior to buying and sowing them!

2 comments to Red Soda Taters.

  • The MomNo Gravatar

    That’s an impressive tater box. I wondered how one would go about harvesting the crop.

    • RedNo Gravatar

      I hope it works! Apparently the bottom layers are more difficult to harvest, and it gets easier as you move up. Also I’ve read conflicting opinions on yield — some people say you get all the potatoes you can handle, others think it’s a relatively small amount compared to the traditional way of planting them.

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