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After reading Lifehacker the other day, a little motivation crept in to build a new bin and grow my own potatoes again. This will be a multi post project that will document all the stages from planting to growing!
Years ago I grew many kilograms of potatoes in a stack of old car tyres with great results, but some became rotten when they sat inside the lip of the tyres in water that had collected.
I obtained a few old partly broken pallets a few months back for free from a local supply company. Not sure what I was going to do with them, the were left in a stack up the back yard to slowly rot and split in the sun. My dog Abby liked to chase the lizards that would hide in them. After a long stressful day at work, I felt the need to destroy something (the pallets) and make some noise.
After ripping the nails out and cutting the planks in half (~55mm), a few nails and a bit of sweat later the frame work had been knocked up. My wife even came out to see what the comotion was about and stayed to nail most of it together. She is quite handy when she wants to be!
Take no notice of my carpentry skills! Think that may be why I am a geologist and not a tradesman.
So where to now?
Firstly the bin needs to be placed on some weed free soil, and filled with some soil which is rich in organic matter (about level with the top of the bottom board). The seed potatoes will be planted in this soil, then topped off with some straw.
Once the potatoes have started to grow, new boards will be added to the edges and the bin filled with straw up to the top of the new boards. By using straw, the potatoes will grow in a dirt free environment which will save you time in the kitchen (no dirty spuds to wash!), it also makes for easy picking as you can fish through the straw to find the potatoes!