Have you ever heard of Irish Winter Potatoes?
I didn't until last fall, so I figured I'd give it a try. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and fiber from the potato skin. They also store easily, making them a great survivalist tool.
I planted my trial in November, just after our first end of year frost. What we want to do is keep the seed potatoes from freezing and actually produce pounds of potatoes through winter. I planted above ground, just because the harvest will be much easier. No raised garden needed, just two $10 kiddie pools screwed together at the rims with the top cut out.
How To Grow Your Own
Start with a bed of dirt, roughly 4" thick.
Next make a layer of biodegradable plant materials, such as banana peels and grass clippings. I used stuff from last year's harvest, like old cabbage heads shredded up. No stalks. The plant materials will slowly rot over winter, which produces heat.
Cover the plant materials with a layer of dirt, and then space your seed potatoes. Make sure they have eyes, because every eye will become a vine.
Add more dirt on top of the potatoes, make another biodegradable plant layer, then finish with a final layer of dirt. The layers altogether should be about 14" deep.
Cover the area to keep the cold/snow off the top of the soil. I used a third kiddie pool, but a tarp will also work. Uncover in spring, at first thaw or earlier, depending on temperature.
This is what my trial looks like in April, after being planted last November:
As soon as most of the vines grow above the top rim, I will fill the rest of the container with dirt and trim vines as needed.
Harvest as soon as the vines begin to wither from age or the dropping temperatures at night, about 120 days after you started. To harvest without much mess, drag the planter over a tarp, which will catch the dirt. Unscrew the ring, cut off the vines at the dirt, and lift apart. Your winter potatoes are ready for spring consumption!
This article gives more insight on which variety of potato would be good for planting.
Make plans this year to grow your own Irish Winter Potatoes.
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