Barrel-potatoes is a method for intensive cultivation of patatoes using next to no space. The method can be practiced by everyone - even on a small balcony.
The procedure is very simple: Add about six inches of soil to the bottom of a well-drained barrel (holes in the bottom) and some seed potatoes – five or six is the right amount for a whiskey barrel. When the sprouts reach six to eight inches high, shovel more dirt in on top of them, covering three-quarters of the stems. Keep doing this until the container is full. When the shoots die back, tip over the container and You will find that your five have turned into an amazing amount of potatoes.
A variant of the barrel method is to use stacked car tires. Start with one tire and add tires and soil as needed. Eventually you have a small tower of tires with the green part of the plant still growing out the top one. Harvest of the potatoes is simple: just knock over the tires and pick up the potatoes.
Potatoes can be laid in the Fall with this method: loosen the soil. Lay a car tire on top of it. Put a layer of leaf mulch down on the ground inside the tire, then lay your potato on top. Then apply another layer of leaf or straw mulch, and then a layer of soil. Roots will begin to grow before it gets too cold because of the heat that is produced by the breakdown of the mulch, plus the black rubber of the tire absorbs the sun's heat and protects the plant.
Come spring growing will start above ground and you have an early, well-established plant. Proceed as above.
A well-drained, fine sandy loam soil, high in organic matter is preferred. If heavy clay or clay loam soils are used, drainage problems should be corrected and organic matter content improved by adding aged manure or compost. Be cautioned, however, that manure may increase the incidence of potato scab.
Updated 01-10-22 at 12:20