Country Lore: Grow Potatoes in Biodegradable Boxes

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