Diy potato planters and bins

Written by janet beal
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Diy potato planters and bins
Home-grown potatoes in homemade planters turn your garden into a tiny farm. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

There is a certain peculiar pleasure in adding potatoes to your summer vegetable garden. Although growing a winter's-worth of these humble and reasonably priced staples requires a large patch of land and heavy labour, growing a few of this upside-down yielder is easy if you build your own planters. Add some slightly exotic potatoes to your usual fare, such as blue-fleshed, fingerling or buttery-flavoured varieties. Creating potato planters brings out ingenuity in all gardeners.

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Stack Tires and Stop Digging

Generations ago, gardeners discovered a way to recycle used automobile and truck tires as potato planters. Stacking tires one by one around growing plants and filling in soil as a substitute for old-fashioned hilling may not beautify the landscape, but the results are gratifying. Tire-stack planters remove the backbreaking shovelling required to hill and then harvest potatoes. Tire rims hold foliage above the ground, keeping plants cleaner, and the black material soaks up and retains warmth from the sun. Both country and urban gardeners use the tire-stack strategy.

Bag Your Potatoes

The recent popularity of eco-fabric planting bags makes it possible for terrace and small-garden growers to add new varieties of vegetables through the flexible use of space. Two methods enable you to make your own grow-bags, both for potatoes and other vegetables. Find water-permeable landscape fabric at your local garden centre and treat it like any other sewing fabric. Using a 5-gallon bucket as your model; even beginning sewers can cut, pin and machine-stitch both round- and square-bottomed garden bags with only a little effort. Handles are optional.

Use Landscape Cloth as Liners

These creative containers require no sewing ability. Varied mesh containers can be lined with landscape fabric and soil. Add soil as potato plants grow and harvest potatoes by turning your bins over on the ground. Good candidates are old wicker baskets or hampers; don't expect more than a year of service, but enjoy finding a final use before recycling. Plastic cousins, like laundry baskets or hampers, make excellent bins because they are already so well ventilated; a fabric lining allows water to drain without letting soil run out.

Tie It All Together

In the absence of a prefab container, consider purchasing metal rabbit mesh or chicken wire. Trim enough mesh off the roll to make a double cylinder with a diameter of 18 to 24 inches. Line the mesh with a piece of landscape fabric and roll them together to make the cylinder. Tie the loose edges to the bin with garden twine or wire. Sink bins into the ground about 4 inches deep to reduce their chances of tipping. Put a layer of dirt and potatoes at the bottom, adding dirt as plants grow. When harvest time comes, just cut the ties and let your potatoes fall out.

Future Bin Building

Keep an open mind about potential materials for potato planters. Leftover bricks can be stacked in a well-ventilated circle or square. Leftover plastic window screen hold soil and let moisture drain as well as landscape fabric. Watch for seasonal specials: big plastic ice-buckets sold for summer cookouts or dustbins on deep discount for fall cleanup need only some drainage holes in the bottom to become potato bins. Wooden pallets are sometimes free. Think function, not form, as you clean the garage or visit yard sales.

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