Spud Cages (from Kalex's thread)

A forum for problem solving and exchanging ideas and knowledge related to the edible garden. Now includes sub-forum for sharing recipes and other ideas for using produce.

Moderators: Forum_mod, Pam, jack, Sam, Luzy

Spud Cages (from Kalex's thread)

Postby sara » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:27 am

In her thread on her vegie garden, Kalex showed us a photo of her spud cages. I am seriously impressed, as the idea of a spud cage in which to grow the too-many seed potatoes I bouught would solve a problem for me, as well fill up a corner that is otherwise unusable at the moment because of poor soil (need to build up soil).

Can someone tell me precisely how they work? I have heard of the idea of growing spuds in spare tyres, adding tyre after tyre ... but my befuddled mind just can't grasp the concept. I've not grown spuds before - this year will be my first time - and I know you need to heap straw or soil around the growing plant as the potatoes grow up very close to the surface ... how deep do you allow the soil/straw in the cage to get? I just have visions of a six foot mound of soil/straw and no means to get at the spuds buried deep in the pillar. ;)
Paradise hangs shadowed in the forgotten corners of gardens.
Come visit Sara and the cats at the restoration project at Nonsuch.
User avatar
sara
Head Curator
 
Posts: 775
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:15 am
Location: Cornelian Bay, Tasmania

Postby sara » Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:34 am

I've been doing some research - apparently the potatoes grow up through the straw and every six inches you add more straw- I am assuming the tubers grow in the straw. Big advantage is that you get clean spuds at the end.

I am so definitely going to try this!! :)
Paradise hangs shadowed in the forgotten corners of gardens.
Come visit Sara and the cats at the restoration project at Nonsuch.
User avatar
sara
Head Curator
 
Posts: 775
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:15 am
Location: Cornelian Bay, Tasmania

Postby Spider Lily » Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:45 am

ellengray, my dad has grown potatoes like this before. He used chicken wire and 4 tomato stakes. He reckons it was better than the car tyres that he used to use and build up.
User avatar
Spider Lily
Gardening Sage
 
Posts: 1747
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:30 am
Location: Sydney, NSW

Postby sara » Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:56 am

Thanks - I have both the wire and stakes - I reckon that would be easier than tyres as well (besides, I don't have any tyres! LOL). I shall get started soonest! :)
Paradise hangs shadowed in the forgotten corners of gardens.
Come visit Sara and the cats at the restoration project at Nonsuch.
User avatar
sara
Head Curator
 
Posts: 775
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:15 am
Location: Cornelian Bay, Tasmania

Postby Kalex » Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:15 am

Hi Ellengray,

Here is where I got my information from...

http://www.aussieslivingsimply.com.au/f ... ead_id=686

It's another great website, I heard about it from on of the GE threads, now I'm a member of both forums! Love all this knowledge sharing! 8)

cheers

Kalex
Happiness is a way of travelling, not a destination...
User avatar
Kalex
Head Gardener
 
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:30 am
Location: Drouin, West Gippsland, Victoria

Postby sara » Tue Aug 22, 2006 10:36 am

Oh wow, Kalex - THANKS! yes, that forum looks terrific - I should be working, but now it looks like I'll be browsing. ;)

ETA: perhaps not so wow - 90% of the pages won't load for me and the forum just vanishes ... sustainable, perhaps, but they use some lousy software! :) I just can't use the site.
Paradise hangs shadowed in the forgotten corners of gardens.
Come visit Sara and the cats at the restoration project at Nonsuch.
User avatar
sara
Head Curator
 
Posts: 775
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:15 am
Location: Cornelian Bay, Tasmania

Postby cordelia » Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:28 am

Ellengray,
The principle with spuds (as I'm sure you know) is that the green parts make energy to store in the spud part, and the buried parts send off rottlets that then develop the spuds on them. So the trick is to have a good balance between the green and the buried bit: a bit more green at the beginning to give them a start, then bury them with 3 or 4 'layers' of leaves poking out. If not enough leaves are out the plant puts all it's energy into making leaves instead of spuds.

I always use bigger (wider) cages than required, because it is a way of making compost while you are at it, and to make watering less of an issue. Here, they dry out easily, and so I line the cage with shadecloth (or black plastic with 1''holes every 6'' in a grid designed for growing strawberries...someone gave it to me and it has been useful for lining compost cages too).

Also, I make sure it is easy to lift the cages (just a few inches for raiding) or have them poorly 'sewn' up, so I can put my hand in and steal the lower potatoes throughout the season :wink: , rather than waiting for proper harvest time. :wink: 8)

I tend to leave the potatoes in the cages rather than harvest and store them...if it was a wet winter (in the olden days!!!) i would cover the top of the pile with cardboard or plastic so it didn't get sodden, but mostly I just left it. By spring we had eaten most of the potatoes, so I lifted the cage, used the compost, and started again somewhere else with a few of the remaining spuds.

I have never used pea straw, by chance, but I have had a lot of mildew problems with it in other parts of the garden this year :( , so I feel a bit iffy about it for the spuds. Don't know how justified that is... What do other people think? I have always used oatstraw or lucerne hay or leaves and chicken litter, or weeds, with the odd thin scatter of grass clippings (if too thick they go mouldy).

If you have thistles or other rich weeds like nettles, they are good. The only nutririon you get out of the spuds is what you put into the cages, so it is a good idea to use a varied source of mulch. Manure is fine, even relatively fresh.

Happy spudding! :D
User avatar
cordelia
Senior Curator
 
Posts: 740
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:09 am
Location: Canberra

Postby sara » Wed Aug 23, 2006 5:54 am

Many thanks for the tips Cordelia. I was thinking of making bigger cages as well - wasn't sure that I should, but seems to sound as if it works OK. I was also looking forward to eventually using the contents, minus spud, as compost. :) the wire I will use has wide enough spaces for me to get my hand in to raid new potatoes. ;)

Interesting also re storage - I hope that will work for me as well as I don't truly want to have the problem of storing them elsewhere. Did you ever have problems with rotting, or with rodents stealing the spuds?
Paradise hangs shadowed in the forgotten corners of gardens.
Come visit Sara and the cats at the restoration project at Nonsuch.
User avatar
sara
Head Curator
 
Posts: 775
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:15 am
Location: Cornelian Bay, Tasmania

Postby cordelia » Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:32 am

As long as the mulch or straw or whatever you use is not soggy, the potatoes shouldn't rot. An old way of storing them was to put them in layers in damp sand...same sort of thing. In Tassie, with more rain, you might need to cover the top in the soggiest of times. In their natural state, the spuds just live in the ground until next spring, when they shoot all over again.....unless somebody furry or otherwise chews on them first... :roll:
Re rodents, :evil: I always used chicken or bird wire, and they couldn't climb over the top very well, and I covered over the thieving holes with a board or bit of wire, so they were fairly rodent-proof :D . If your wire is holey enough to fit hands through, the rodents might find the hotel to their liking :D :evil: :evil:
User avatar
cordelia
Senior Curator
 
Posts: 740
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:09 am
Location: Canberra

Postby sara » Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:57 am

It is very dry where I am - less than 230 mm on my garden thus far this year. :( I'll wait until storage time then decide how to keep them - I could always wrap chicken wire about the spud cages.
Paradise hangs shadowed in the forgotten corners of gardens.
Come visit Sara and the cats at the restoration project at Nonsuch.
User avatar
sara
Head Curator
 
Posts: 775
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:15 am
Location: Cornelian Bay, Tasmania

Postby cordelia » Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:18 am

Good idea...or shake on some chili powder.
User avatar
cordelia
Senior Curator
 
Posts: 740
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:09 am
Location: Canberra


Return to Fruit and Produce

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron