Potato dreams: Can you double your yield in a bin?
I'd like to try growing potatoes in a tall bin this summer and would appreciate feedback on my ideas. I have read many a post from others who planned to do something similar and ended up disappointed because of lower than expected yield, but hope springs eternal. : )
I grew early season white potatoes in a 25-gallon fabric aeration container last summer and loved the taste. But, I only was able to produce enough potatoes for a couple meals, maybe five to seven pounds total of golf ball sized potatoes. Since I must grow all my veggies in containers due to soil conditions in my yard, I'd like to figure out how to maximize yield in a small space without spending too much money. I am thinking of using a $30 Geobin Composting System, which is a kind of plastic tube that adjusts in size up to 3-feet in diameter by 3-feet tall. It has holes all along the sides to let in air. Here's a photo:
My idea is to use a 6-inch layer of Al's 5-1-1 potting mix mixed with about 10 percent compost in the bottom. On top of that I would place about a dozen fingerling seed potatoes topped with another 4 inches of soil mix. I figure I would need roughly 3 cubic feet of soil mix, which I can make for less than $10. Then as the potatoes grow, I would layer them with straw until they reach the top of the bin.
I have heard that fingerling potatoes will produce tubers all along the stem when grown this way, and that you can double or triple your yield with this method. But all the stories I've heard seem to be second hand, so I don't know how realistic my plan is. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who's tried this or has experience with different methods of growing potatoes in containers.