Country Lore: Grow Potatoes in Biodegradable Boxes

Cardboard boxes make great vessels for growing potatoes.
By Mary Swindle
February/March 2007
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The Irish potatoes that I grew in raised beds were healthy and stored well, but building a raised bed can be costly and requires hard work. I wanted an alternative that was easy to build, inexpensive, useful and attractive.

My company recycles hundreds of cardboard boxes, many of which are the same shape and size. Last spring, I collected several boxes, lined them up in the garden and planted potatoes in the bottom third of the box using a light soil mixed with mild organic fertilizer. As the potatoes grew, I added more soil. The potatoes grew beautifully. I planted herbs and flowers around the boxes, and it looked so good that my neighbor is going to add some to her garden.

The boxes were free, attractive and will biodegrade at the end of the season. Plus, new ones can be set up next year in a different part of the vegetable garden to help rotate the crops. The top flaps can be closed to protect the tender plants from a late frost. It is easy to build up soil around the growing potatoes; harvesting is also easy. You can either reach in for new potatoes, or peel the biodegraded sides away at the end of the season.

Mary Swindle
Charlotte, North Carolina 

Post a comment below.


pamela p
6/5/2011 12:45:12 PM
Re: growing potatoes in boxes. Do you have photos? A more detailed description of the boxes and process of growing them? Here are some of my specific questions? What size box? How many potatoes per box? Where keep the box (sun/shade/protected, etc.)? What varieties of potatoes? Can use this for other root veges? Fertilizer? How long for harvest? And any other details you can think of to tell me! Sounds great! Glad I found your column/newsletter! Thanks! Pamela

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