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Planting potatoes in an MM-Airbak

Most people think you can't grow potatoes in a garden box that's only 20 cm deep. But if you do it my way, you'll harvest more than if you grow them straight into the ground.
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We're true potato eaters in the Netherlands. Almost every vegetable gardener grows them.

But because you don't sow potatoes but plant them, you won't find them in the Planty Gardening app. So, I'll explain it to you in detail here.

So - Can you really grow potatoes in a Planty Garden?

Yes, and better than you may think.

If you look for info on the internet about growing your own potatoes, it looks difficult: they have to be planted deep into the ground, you have to add soil mix on top, and that sort of thing. I used to do that too.

But after years of experimenting, I know it's all totally unnecessary.

In fact: you get a bigger yield when you plant potatoes my way. Up to 5x as much as a professional potato grower. Just in your own garden box.

If you want a lot of potatoes, you have to fill up a whole box:
Veel aardappels telen in een Makkelijke Moestuin
A large vegetable garden box full of potatoes
But if you just want to try it out, use an MM-Mini. That's how I did it last year.
Oogst aardappels uit één Makkelijke Moestuin mini
Harvest from one MM-Mini
This year I'm using our MM-Airbak. It's a little in between in terms of size.

When do you plant potatoes?

You can plant potatoes from mid-March to mid-May.

There are early and late varieties. That has to do with how fast they grow and how long you can keep them for the most part. I don't worry about that.

I do like firm potatoes better than crumbly ones, so if I have the choice, I choose a firm variety.

What do you need?

  • A 60x60 MM-Airbak
  • At least 8 seed potatoes (or small organic potatoes that are already sprouting)
  • MM-Mix(I use soil mix from an old garden box - and add in a little fresh mix and MM-Plantfood)
  • Plant label, so I don't forget what's in there

Here's how I do it:

1. I set up the MM-Airbak, place it in the garden, and toss a scoop of MM-Mix so it forms a bottom layer.

2. Then I put some seed potatoes on top from the garden center in the town down the road.

Then I add 2 potatoes per square patch. So that's just 2 in an MM-Mini or 8 in an MM-Airbak. But, if I have some extra potatoes left over, I'll just put them all in. The idea is to space them out enough so they have enough room to grow.
Pootaardappeltjes op de bodem van een Makkelijke Moestuin Airbak
Seed potatoes on top of a layer of MM-Mix
"Shouldn't you let those potatoes sprout first, so they already have roots on them?"

Yes, you can. But I'm too lazy for that, and that's how it goes. It just takes a little longer for the plants to come up.

3. Then I fill the box all the way up with soil mix and add a plant label to it:

Makkelijke Moestuin Airbak met net gepote aardappels
MM-Airbak with just-planted potatoes
Since there are only potatoes in this box, I won't add the grid on top.

4. That's it.

The next few months come down to watering once in a while and waiting for the plants to flower and/or turn yellow. Then it's time to harvest.

Here's what that harvestable potatoes look like:
Als aardappelplanten geel worden is het tijd om te oogsten
Yellow potato plants? Time to harvest
But let's wait and see how this year goes.

I'll keep you posted!
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Update 2021:

In late March, I sowed the potatoes in the MM-Airbak.

April and May were colder than usual, so it took a while for the first plants to start growing well.

This photo is of May 15:
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The potato plants started growing strong in May
Then suddenly, things started to move fast. This photo was taken on May 23:
aardappels-airbak-1.jpg
Potato plants on May 23
The plants got bigger and bigger, and by July 8 they already turned a little yellowish.
aardappels-airbak-5.jpg
Potato plants turning yellow
Around August 5, the plants were almost completely dead.
aardappels-airbak-4-2.jpg
In early August, the potato plants died
When the plants are that dead, it's definitely time to harvest. So I dug into the soil mix:
aardappels-airbak-3-2.jpg
Digging for potatoes
In the end, I harvested 2.9 kilos. That's less than I expected. I usually get more like 1.5 kilos per square patch.

The potatoes stayed pretty small. It's probably due to the weather this year. Extremely cold in spring and very wet in summer: potatoes don't like it.

But still: compared to an outdoor crop, it's an achievement: potato farmers complained like hell this year. They were lucky if they could harvest anything at all because a lot of potato crops failed.
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Almost 3 kilos of potatoes from 4 patches: less than expected but not bad at all given the weather this year

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