Growing Potatoes in an Odd Fashion


This is the time of year I wish I were in a warmer climate for I would surely be outside planting!  Looking out at the four foot drifts, I really need to worry about how to get to the chicken coop, not the garden!

trash can

In the meantime, our dance company performs this Friday.  In one of the numbers the kids are alley cats and I always have crazy ideas that I then have to implement.  I thought I would get a couple of trash cans that they could crouch behind then saunter out to their positions and start their dance.  Now, I’ll have two black trash cans that I really don’t need…..or do I?

My mind wanders back to a class I took with Tammi Hartung.  I really like this lady.  She has some great books out there.  She is an accomplished author and grower.  She provides herbs for the nearby plant nursery and is an herbalist.  It was her book, “Growing 101 Herbs that Heal” that inspired me on my current journey as an herbalist.  In this class, hosted by Tagawa Gardens, she talked about growing vegetables indoors all winter, sans lights and crazy set ups.  That inspired my table you will see in my post The Indoor Farmer (under Farming).  She also mentioned in the class how to grow tons of potatoes.

Place six inches of good planting soil in the bottom of the trash can with drainage holes drilled in the bottom.  Set tubers spread a part across the top.  Top with another six inches of soil.  Water.  Let soak up sun (no lid).  When the green part starts to rise above the soil line, add six more inches of soil.  Continue to do this until you nearly reach the top or it is the end of the season.  When you dump out the trash can, you will be flush in potatoes to store for the winter!  The entire barrel will be filled!  How marvelous!

We didn’t get around to doing this last year but I told a friend about it.  At the end of the season when they dumped out the trash can, it was filled with potatoes!

potato basket

I cannot wait to turn my dance trash cans into barrels of winter potatoes.  I will plant potatoes in the garden at St. Patrick’s Day, plant the two barrels closer to Mother’s day, and then plant another set of potatoes in the garden in July.  We do like our potatoes around here.  Some great, colorful, heirloom potatoes await!  – I did not know she had a blog until now!

The History Mystery and Whispering Seeds

The Three Sisters method will be employed.  This town is called Kiowa after all and the soil belonged to tribes.  Smoke Signals will be planted in the far center garden bed.  The rows will look over the rest of the garden beds, standing proud of their heritage.  Their multi-colored, brilliant ears will provide delicious popcorn.  How many American Indian ladies planted this same corn?  And the Black Aztec will be in the next bed to try my hand at making blue cornmeal.  Did my great, great grandmother use the same varietal?  And the Golden Bantam, the original sweet corn, will adorn the other side.  Ancient seeds carried in covered wagons and in pouches.

smoke signals

So many choices!  Buy organic seeds?  Or conventional seeds?  For me the clear choice as a history buff with too much imagination are heirlooms.  Who doesn’t want pink and brown pumpkins scrambling around their Aztec corn?  The colors excite me.  The histories enthrall me and I feel connected to every farmer, every family before me who fed their family using these seeds.


Heirlooms are an important part of sustainability.  They are not genetically modified. They are pollinated by bees and birds and butterflies and the seeds can be saved so that my great, great grandchild will wonder who I was but know that I planted orange watermelons and that I may have been a little eccentric thanks to the multicolored beans I saved.  And heirlooms whisper about history.

morning glory

Imagine perusing a seed catalogue of seeds that are ancient!  Like the seeds that were just recently rediscovered.  These Morning Glories are not your typical shape but frilly raspberry colored petals.  I cannot wait to see them scrambling up the trellis.  Purple carrots will taste so much better than orange ones.  I do love to choose the prettiest colored vegetables, many that had to grow in this climate so they ripen early.  I plan on watering this year (whoops) so I do plan to have the most beautiful and productive garden I have ever had.  And walking through it will be like walking through a history book of covered wagons and pioneers, strong willed women and gracious, hard working men who fed their families using these very seeds that I will feed my family with.

Save a seed! (pictures were taken from their catalogue!)