Easily produce 50 pounds or more, of potatoes in 4 square feet of gardening. The concept is fairly basic. Potatoes produce shoots off of their main root system as the plant grows vertically. Those shoots terminate in a potato.
Every half foot or so of plant growth, cover the potato plant, leaving only a little plant to continue to grow above the surface. The dirt forces the potato plant to grow upwards, as well as no shoots to produce more potatoes.
All you need are potatoes, preferably seed potatoes, and 6 to 8 inch panels of wood in a minimum of 2 foot lengths.
I used 4 foot lengths of ½” by 6” pine, that I cut into 2 foot lengths, and some small penny nails. I am not building the prettiest box, nor am I building the most durable one, so consider making serious improvements for durability.
However, I like to repurpose construction materials when available. Observational research has shown that construction waste can be as high as 10 to 15 percent of the materials that go into a building. So if a broken pallet were available, I’d happily repurpose that.
Nail together the four sides of the box, and set on a level part of your garden where the box can irrigate from the bottom when needed.
Allow your seed potatoes to sprout in a tray prior to planting.
Add a light layer of gravel or wood chip to the bottom of your box to allow it to irrigate. Add a shallow layer of garden soil as the base for your potatoes.
Place your sprouted spuds on the bed of soil with the sprouted plant at the top. Keep them as evenly spaced as possible, and try not to overcrowd them. Cover the entire potatoes, leaving only a tiny bit of each plant exposed above ground.
Monitor plant growth, and water as necessary. Cover the plant at about 8 inch intervals leaving some of the plant exposed. Frame and stack additional levels of the box as necessary to promote plant growth.
4 Weeks – At 4 weeks after planting, a new 6 inch level of planter box was added, and compost filled up and around the potato plants. Only the tops of the potato plants were were left exposed above ground to continue upward growth. The update photos are shown in the article.