In an effort to cheat mother nature and get as much of a head start as possible on this growing season I decided to try growing hydroponic potatoes. I'd read that they are doing it in Vietnam with good success. The thing is they are doing it more traditionally in rows similar to raised beds but soilless w/ coir and nutrient solution ie. hydroponically. I've grown potatoes in a barrel with mixed results but I had an idea. The lighter the media I grew in the larger and more prolific the yield ,SO coir should be AMAZING (I Hope). So far the results are quite promising as the plants have grown 30 inches Since 03/09 and are already starting to throw some flowers. .The procedure is as follows:
One 55 gal food grade barrel w/ 16 -5/16 holes in the bottom and 6 around the edge (about ¾ “ up on the side) sitting in a Barrel cover w/ 2 inch lip (think of it as a coaster or plant dish) .Six inches of coconut coir in the bottom. Start 8 seed potato pieces . when they are about 8 inches high place them on the six inches of coir already in the barrel . Pile moist coir around them until only about 2 inches sticks out .As the plants grow continue to add coir until the barrel is full of coir. The plants will grow up and eventually stick out of the barrel by up to 2 feet . If you add nutrient solution (ph 5.9 EC 2) to the bottom in the plant dish it will wick up . It’s a good idea to top water when you add more coir so that the coir will settle a bit . The potatoes will flower (either white or purple flowers) These will contain potato seeds (not to be confused with seed potatoes). When the plants die back it’s time to knock over the barrel and harvest up to 100 pounds of potatoes . Not bad for four square feet.
I plan on doing this with numerous barrels using 4 different varieties of fingerling potatoes as well as Yukon Golds and more Kennebec and Katadin Maine potatoes . If this process works one could potentially grow a ton of potatoes in less than 100 square feet. That's pretty amazing! I've heard of people stacking tires to do the same thing WARNING!!!!tires leach toxic chemicals. Isn't the idea to clean up our food sources ? I'll add more pix and updateas they grow. Any questions or comments would be welcomed .Thanks for stopping by.