According to the folks over at Planetgreen.com, conventional potatoes are loaded with pesticides and on their list of seven foods farmers won't even eat.  If you love those spuds like I do, the only logical step is to grow your own.  But if you don't have a lot of space then think about growing them vertically. Here are a few great ideas that you can set up within an hour or two.

WVSundown created this awesome Tater Tote instructable.  Although they're designed for potatoes, I'd bed these babies would probably work for anywhere you wanted to use a homemade grow bag.

If you want something with more structure, check out Cassandra's (aka apachebow) potato bin setup on youtube. I couldn't find the link for the all-natural fertilizer that she mentions but you get the idea.

We tried another variation on this theme at our house. I bought organic potatoes from Earth Fare and cut off the developing 'eyes' with a little piece of the potato to anchor them.  I let that dry out a couple days and then planted my seed potatoes in homemade denim growbags the fashionista sewed up for me.  I grew them in Eliot Coleman's organic soil mix to start them off. Our seed potato baby bin was set inside of this semicircle we pieced together using the leftover pieces of plastic chicken wire (they sell rolls of it at Lowe's) and layered the with whatever straw was on hand at the time.  They're doing quite well.  Hope you are inspired to grow your own potatoes. 




 
Planting fruits and vegetables raised beds was never a problem but keeping those puppies properly watered was another story altogether. After looking at several demos on self watering containers, I found Grant and Max Buster's website called GlobalBuckets.org.  Their mission is to create easily replicable self watering gardening systems that can help ease malnutrition all over the world.  Did I mention that these guys aren't even 18 yet?  Talk about initiative! 

I loved their ideas so much that I set out to combine the fashionista's homemade grow bags with their global bucket system. I shared the details of that success on their website.  First, I used the $2 pickle buckets I scored from Firehouse Subs to plant tomato seeds in late January/early February.  G, its too cold even in South Carolina for tomato seeds to germinate in winter.  Not if you use the winter sowing method. Trudi Davidoff developed a method for sowing your spring seeds outside in perforated covered containers (wintersown.org). They stay wet from condensation and germinate when they're ready.  The bonus is that there's no need to harden off your plants because they've been exposed to the elements all winter long.  Colleen Vanderlinden has a great article on the subject.  In our backyard, Our system used plastic water bottles with the lids cut off (and then scored with a knife in several places) to give the tomato seeds the desired environment. Anyway, after the tomato seeds started to germinate, I covered them with new water bottles with the caps off as a sort of mini cloche.

We salvaged a discarded footlocker to produce the second global bucket style system in our yard. Along with those pics I'm including more photos of our homemade grow bags in action.  Since I couldn't get the lid off the footlocker, I used cardboard, newspaper and scraps of plastic chicken wire to craft a makeshift bed for squash plants that grew in our greenhouse.
By the way, the http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?p=199465 clued me in on the reusable shopping bag, lead connection.  Read the information for yourself.
 
Picture
Square inched peas.
After all the discussion (in my head at least), I finally got around to making the square inch garden soil mix I learned about from the Dervaes' blog.  Instead of actually planting them in a traditional raised bed, I filled the homemade growbags the fashionista made for me for Christmas. To get the square inch effect, I planted inside and in between cut up toilet paper and holiday gift wrap rolls. They worked fabulously.  Now the little green peas and sugar snaps are starting to come up and we'll be able to get our stir fry on more regularly.

Feel free unearth the details of the process on the Freedom Gardens website.

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Last Updated December 12, 2011
Original Web Site Content by Mrs. Germaine Jenkins (gwhiz@germainesolutions.com)
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