Potatoes are one of the simplest food crops to grow at home. Even if you have no garden at all and merely a doorstep, patio, rooftop, balcony, or deck, you can grow potatoes in very small spaces. Learn which type of containers potatoes thrive in, producing bigger harvests than you’ll ever get from a bed in the ground. Learn how to select potatoes that mature earlier than others, giving you a quick harvest even in a short season climate with cold winters.
No other food crop allows you to do so much with so little as the potato, In fact, this is the most productive food staple you can produce at home. Just imagine how much space it would take to grow enough wheat, rye, oat, barley or rice to feed a family. Yet you can grow enough potatoes on your doorstep to feed a person for days.
Potatoes pack more food energy per square foot than anything else you can grow, The only other food that even comes close is corn, but corn cannot touch the humble spud.
Potatoes can produce more than 15,000 pounds per acre, while corn produces closer to 6,000 pounds. Here are the yields of some common food staples in terms of calories per acres. Yes, I know you and I are dealing in square feet (and maybe even square inches), but this gives you a sense of potato power:
Potatoes: 17.8 million calories per acre Corn: 12.3 million calories per acre Wheat: 6.4 million calories per acre Soybeans: 2.1 million calories per acre
If you learned how to grow potatoes in a certain type of container such as a grow bag, you will know that this yield could allow you to eat one potato a day ( the American consumption average) for at least 40 days. And in case of an emergency (hurricane, earthquake, prolonged power outage, etc.) keeping a few of these containers in service and near harvest would ensure several days’ worth of emergency rations for a family of four.
If you doubt the importance of good emergency preparation, then please watch some video clips of natural disasters and their aftermath. The aftermath of hurricane Katrina in 2005 was enough to alert me. We cannot rely on the government to provide for us in these situations.
POTATOES ARE NUTRITIOUS
Potatoes provide much of the nutrition your body needs on a daily basis. One medium-sized potato delivers 110 fat-free calories, 45% of your daily need for vitamin C, 18% of your needed potassium, 10% of your vitamin B6, 8% each of your vitamin B1 and B3, 6% each of your iron, folate, phosphorus, and magnesium, plus plenty other minerals in smaller concentrations. Much of the nutrition is located in the skin, so keep that in mind when you eat.
If you have only eaten store brought potatoes in the past, then chances are you have only eaten a few different varieties of potatoes. There are many more you can grow at home, so get ready for some tasty treats!
GROWING POTATOES IN CONTAINERS
I recommend containers as the best growing option. This recommendation is not only for people with apartments and no yard space; containers are best for potatoes anywhere. Believe it or not, containers just grow more potatoes. You will not get as many taters from either garden beds or raised beds as you will get from containers.
Good soil aeration is hugely important for the roots of many plants especially potatoes which produce better in loose soil than compacted soil. These pots/bags are usually dark in color, which allows the soil to warm up more quickly each day. This speeds the plants’ growth, even in cool spring and fall weather. But unlike some other kinds of pots, growing bags do not overheat easily and they have porous holes that prune the roots and keep the soil aerated. It adds up to a winning combination. They provide for the ideal environment for growing potatoes, and bags can be reused time and time again.
At the end of the day, saving money with potatoes is about making small lifestyle changes. As long as you are cooking your own food, your grocery costs should be pretty low already. The only way to save big money is to replace a processed meal with one based on homegrown food, which requires slightly more prep time. If you are willing to do this, even once or twice a week, you will still save a lot of money. Having homegrown potatoes on hand makes the task pretty simple.
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