How to grow 50 pounds of potatoes in a 2x2 foot area
Alternate version: If you want a sturdier structure use 2x4s and 2x6s for the lumber. If you use this method your deck screws will need to be 2½-3 inches long.
Decorative look: If you want the box to be more than just utilitarian in design, consider using 4x4s for the posts and topping them with deck post caps to give the box a more finished look.
One of the challenges many gardeners face is the lack of adequate space for vegetables. One way to overcome this obstacle is by growing vertical. Learn how you can grow 50-100 pounds of potatoes in a 2x2 foot area with a potato box.
To build the box you will need the following materials: 2- 8 foot 2x2s, 6- 8 foot 1x6s (these need to be pine or cedar – do NOT use pressure treated lumber), a box of 1½ inch deck screws, a saw and electric drill.
- Find a 2x2 foot area of the yard that gets at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Make sure you have easy access to all four sides of the area.
- Cut the 2x2s in half – this will be the four posts for the box’s main structure.
- Cut the 1x6s into 4 equal sizes. This does not have to be perfect. For example, two of the boards could be 24 inches and the other two would be slightly less due to the width of the saw blade.
- Using your drill, secure a 1x6 to two 2x2s with the deck screws. This will create a side. Take the other two 2x2s and attach a 1x6 to them as well. Now you should have a pair of 2x2s with a 1x6 attached to the side.
- Take a third 24-inch 1x6 and use it to connect the two sides you created in step 4.
- Stand the three-sided box in the location where it will be used. Using deck screws attach the final 1x6 side to the 2x2s. You now have a 6 inch ‘box’ with 48 inch posts. (Tip: Place a mark on two opposing walls – it will make reassembly next year much easier since you will be able to line up the marks when re-building the unit.)
- Now for the planting. Space out 8-10 seed potatoes into the bottom of the box. Cover the potatoes with dirt or straw. Since potatoes grow in the dirt above them, you do not need to work the dirt below the box.
- When the potato vines are about 6-8 inches above the sides, using your drill attach another row of six inch boards around the posts.
- Space out another 6-10 seed potatoes and cover with dirt or straw. Now your box has two rows of potatoes and the sides are 12 inches high. Continue this process throughout the growing season. Another method is to simply cover the row with 2-3 inches of soil and do not plant additional seed potatoes.
- To harvest the potatoes, you have two options. If you want ‘new potatoes’, remove one board from the bottom row and carefully remove the potatoes, then reattach the board. If you want to harvest all the potatoes at once, simply lift the box off of the potatoes at the end of the growing season (easier if you use straw) or dismantle two opposing sides of the box.