The Q&A Archives: Growing Potatoes Above Ground

Question: I seem to recall reading about a method of raising potatoes above ground. What is this method, and does it really produce a good crop?

Answer: Growing potatoes above ground saves space, makes harvesting easier, and
often produces more potatoes per plant than regular garden planting.
You can purchase "potato barrels", or simply create your own. Use a
piece of chicken wire or hardware cloth to create cylinders about 3
feet tall and 2 feet in diameter. Loosen the soil underneath for good
drainage, and set the cylinder in place. Place a layer of hay in the
bottom of the cylinder, and add a few inches of soil. Then plant your
seed potatoes, about 4 per cylinder. Cover with another few inches of
soil. Once the potato stalks have grown 4-6", add a layer of hay, then
more soil, to cover the stalks, leaving the top leaves showing.
Continue in this fashion until you reach the top of the cylinder.

You can begin harvesting when the first flowers appear, for those
small, thin-skinned "new potatoes". Or wait until just before the first
frost for full-sized potatoes. To harvest, simply remove the chicken
wire and the potatoes will be easy to find!

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