An idea that is spreading like wildfire across the country, especially among urban gardeners with very limited growing space, is the idea of using a tiered box structure to grow a whole lotta spuds.
The method employs a tiered set of 4-foot by 4-foot boxes which are stacked one on top of the other. The potatoes are planted in the bottom tier, and as they grow upward, additional tiers are added to hold more soil. New soil is added to surround a portion of the potato greens -- the idea it to leverage the upper portion of the plants as further growth points for even more potatoes.
That's the beauty of the potato plant. It's an extremely tough and opportunistic plant that will grow more spuds on more points of its body if allowed the opportunity. The box is called a Lutovsky Box after Greg Lutovsky, a Washington State seed dealer who developed the method. I give a good general introduction to the Lutovsky Box IN MY STORY HERE.
Many people seem to be getting the wrong idea about exactly how the Lutovsky Box works. A good example of how not to do it can be viewed in THIS VIDEO.
To see a video on the right way to build a Lutovsky Box, CLICK HERE.
From what I have read among those who have tried the Lutovsky Box, few of them report they were able to achieve 100 pounds of product -- most report they were able to grow 50 to 80 pounds in their 4x4 tiered structure. That's still pretty good.
Two of the primary keys to be successful with a Lutovsky Box are:
1. Use soil that is well-mixed with dry mulch. Use either straw, pine mulch or some other substance that will keep the soil from getting too water logged, compact, and which will keep it well drained.
2. Select a variety of potato that grows well in your zone or climate. Seek advice from your local County Extension agent, or a greenhouse or gardening expert. There are many variety of potatoes. Some grow much better in compact tiers than others.
Ken Korczak is the author of: MINNESOTA PARANORMALA