Friday, February 22, 2013

My Urban Garden Part 2

Today it's potatoes.
I took a class at Root Phoenix recently and learned a ton about my fruit trees.  

One of the gems I took home was that Apple Trees love Sweet Potatoes.  

What?  Yep. 

There is something perfect for Apple trees in the leftovers from groing Sweet Potatoes.
They are super easy to get growing.  
You have to get Organic Sweet Potatoes first.
Regular Sweet Potatoes are sprayed with a growth inhibitor.  
I know I was skeptical at first
because I thought all produce you buy at the store is not self propigating. 

 I was wrong.

So I went to my local Sprouts and picked up 3 Organic Sweet Potatoes. 

I also got 8 seed potatoes from the amazing people at Root Phoenix. 
They said to leave them in a window sill for a couple of weeks or until the eyes start to grow.

When I brought them home, the kids asked how I was going to grow potatoes in a window.
I told them to just trust me.  I know I do weird stuff sometimes but it will be OK in the end.

I promise.

I also scoured Pinterest for ideas on how to grow potatoes. 

 I loved the Wire basket lined with straw idea but decided to change it just a bit.

I totally scored on this project because I still have some scrap 2x4 pieces left from my gleaning from my local construction site.  I also picked up some 1x1 pieces.  
Plus nearly every house in AZ is built with chicken wire. 


They cover the foamcore with it then spray the stucco on top.  
I lucked out and got a large roll of left over chicken wire that 
was exactly the size I needed for my potato basket.
So here's the pieces I cut for the structure.  
The 1x1 pieces are 36 inches long.  
In hindsight I could have cut them smaller, 
but it was exactly the width of the chicken wire so I didn't have to do any extra wire cutting.  
I cut 4 pieces of 2x4 to 25 inches, and 4 pieces of 2x4 to 30 inches.

I made the square base with the shorter 2x4's and the 1x1's and screwed it together, then
staggered the longer 2x4's around the outside of the base to make it more stable and screwed it all together.
I used my staple gun to attach the chicken wire to the upright 1x1's.

I also needed some straw.
I went to my local feed store and asked if I could glean some of their loose straw.
They said yes.
So I got all my straw for free.
I did spend $4.50 on soil, and $0.25 each for the seed potatoes.
I can't remember how much the organic sweet potatoes were.  
Not much because I only got 3.
I layed the straw down and pushed it up the sides as much as possible.
I will probably get more as the potatoes grow and I need to keep them covered.

 I poured most of the soil into the cage and arranged the seed potatoes like shown.
Then I covered them up and kind of pushed them a little deeper into the soil.

I gave them a good soak and they are done.

I put them between the blackberries and the grow box.

Next I planted the Sweet Potatoes.

They have been sitting in the window along with the seed potatoes.
The eyes are also just starting to grow.  I cut them in large chunks.
They look like I washed them, but I didn't.  
It's just the juice from the Sweet Potato that got on my hands as I was cutting them.

They got planted in a circle around the base of my apple trees, kind of like
numbers on a clock.

Now I have apples and sweet potatoes growing in a space about 4 ft by 6 ft.

I'm so excited.
I just wish I could speed up the process.
I'm ready to harvest now!

Come back tomorrow and I will take you on a full garden tour with a schematic of
how big my yard is and all the things I packed into it.
I think you'll be surprised.

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