There are different ways to grow potatoes. Some people do the old-fashioned way of growing them in the ground. Others choose to grow them in bags or containers of various kinds. Typically, I read about plastic bags being used. Although they sound convenient, I try to avoid growing edibles in a plastic that I suspect might leach something. Hopefully bags made for this purpose are safe. Then I recently saw a different kind of bag that I’d like to try. City Girl, associated with PRI Cold Climate (Permaculture Research Institute) here in Minnesota, reused burlap coffee bean bags to grow her potatoes.
This sounds like a really good idea, and makes me want to look more into PRI to see what other good ideas are percolating there. I also intend to check out some local coffee shops in our area to see if they have any bean bags to spare. I don’t know if they sell them or give them away, but it’s worth a shot to ask. We’ve scrounged for homesteading equipment in local shops before. When we were looking for food grade plastic pails to store grains and root crops, we happened upon a local bakery. They were kind in allowing us to buy used pails and lids cheaply, and it didn’t hurt to be on their good side by ordering a few treats. I’m very fond of old-fashioned chocolate covered donuts, and they were calling my name. But after a few visits to pick up pails, we’ve shifted to Swedish rye bread – just as good!
Back to potatoes – we planted two patches of a red seed variety along a fence. They keep growing and haven’t flowered yet, so we’re wondering if we’ll need to add soil over the mulch, or if they’ll be ok as they are. Earlier this season we mentioned looking for Jerusalem Artichokes/Sun Chokes to plant. We knew these were very invasive, so we planted them in a plastic tote, partially in ground. I know I said I avoid planting in plastic. This is the one exception we’ve made, and the potatoes are doing a good job hiding it.
This fall, after our final tuber is dug, on a day we’ll probably dub Tuberfest just to make it sound like a party, I won’t be surprised if we’re thinking potatoes and sunchokes “to-go” for next season. Cool beans.