Over the past year we have instituted many strategies in our garden in order to plant more, yield more, and harvest more.
The photo above is one of our raised beds. We planted 3 rows at the base of this bed and probably planted between 15-25 potatoes here (way more potatoes than the recommendation in most planting resources). This area spans 6 or so feet along the length of the bed. Consider these potatoes our control group. We will judge the success of the bin method off of the growth that occurs here.
Compare that raised bed to these containers shown above. The black container on the left is a compost bin with the lid removed. Next to it are two old metal garbage cans. We loaded the bottom foot of each of these with compost. Dropped 20-30 potatoes into each bin. Applied a foot or so of hay or straw.
Not sure what this potato is. We didn't mark the bins.
As the potatoes grow, we add more hay until the potatoes grow to the top. Then we harvest. The only problem that I see with this method involves mice. We planted potatoes in bags last year and the little field mice ate them all!
Compare the planting of potatoes in the ground versus a bin:
The bin holds the same amount of potatoes as 6 linear feet of bed space.
The bin allows for very tall plants, thus increasing yields.
When the plants are finished growing, we can simply dump out the bins instead of digging up the potatoes as we would from the ground.
Have you grown potatoes this way? What are your thoughts?