Friday, September 4, 2009

The Grand Potato Experiment

When we converted our dirt plot backyard into a garden, I insisted that potatoes--Red Potatoes--be included. This led to me also insisting that tires be used to increase our potato yield. Being the romantic he is, The Rock returned from a mountain biking excursion with a present for me--a truckbed full of used tires. (and I must note that he carried each tire up a hill to his truck! Now that's love, people.)

For several weeks (or was it months?) we used those tires to increase our liklihood of being voted Best Redneck Front Yard--but when no award was forthcoming, The Rock stacked the tires neatly in the backyard until our potato plants grew tall enough to need additional tires.

Eventually each grouping of plants had 3 tires as shown here:


Because some of the plants started dying we decided it was time to harvest the potatoes. (Which was convenient because my roast recipe this week called for 2 lbs. of red potatoes).

Eagerly, I set out to dig up the left tire stack. Later that day The Rock dug up the right tire stack.

This was our total yield:
Note the AA battery for scale.

[also note me wincing because the ONLY potato in my entire stack of tires was the size of a pinto bean. It isn't pictured above...I threw it away in frustration.]

However, our Ugly White Grub yield was significantly higher. I don't have a picture to verify this--and you might be glad for that. They were quite...well, grubby.

After smooshing a few grubs, I found a better method of disposal--the black ant superhighway running just behind me.

Ironically, we'll proably be trying to ward off those very ants come spring, and they now have extra strength to fight back because I made it rain grubs one fine September day.

The Rock and I had a pow-wow and we agreed that next year we're going to grow potatoes the old fashioned way in light of this year's results.

We haven't decided yet what to do with the tires...we might recycle them back to the front yard. Or maybe we'll get a little more creative...

5 comments:

Wheelwright Adventures said...

Using tires for a garden bed- now that's creative

jendoop said...

My question is- what did you use for seed potatoes? I've heard that you can't use grocery store potatoes, they don't produce well. They have been hybridized and sprayed and are so confused they don't reproduce well.

I've heard that the tire thing should work.

If you did use good seed potatoes then I don't have an answer. Let me know though, because I want to grow potatoes too. They like cool weather, was it too hot?

Arizona Dunbars said...

I hate it when you do all the work for..... not very much. Stink!!! I hope you have better luck next time.

Lu&Moo said...

Wheelwrights--yeah, we can't take credit for the idea, it's from an AZ gardening book. But, it seemed too good to be true what with all the free tires people leave out in the desert. If you ever want some...

Jendoop-- Ok, this increases my shame, we had good potato starts from a seed catalog. I'm guessing it was too hot for the potatoes because, hello, black tires, AZ summer...not a good combo. My cousins had great success with the tire method in ALASKA. Right. AZ v. Alaska...no wonder it didn't work for us. Also, we might have planted too late or something. Or bad soil? Either way, you should give it a try because you have much better weather for growing things.

Dunbars--you have a green thumb so I'm having you come help us next spring, that way we're sure to get good results.

jendoop said...

It was the hot.

Don't feel dumb. This is what is so great about gardening. Try try again. It's what life is all about. Then you move and you have to start all over again learning what grows in a new place. Fun times!

Hopefully spuds will be in my garden next year, or in my tires anyway ;)