Saturday, April 18, 2009

Completed Potato Bin

I started and actually finished the Build-As-You-Go Potato Bin today. It took a bit of time to build because I built it to fit a multi-angled spot. It's made to fit against an angled retaining wall and a raised bed that is also on an angle. Only one corner is actually square. I picked this spot to maximize space, I can't waste a centimeter in my little veggie patch. It will also not shade anything in this spot because it is at the very top of the veggie patch.

dead bush... over there

I built it out of a 1x6x8 spruce boards and the blocking is a combination of 2x3 & 2X2 spruce. The 2x2's were used for the square corner & the slightly angled corner and the 2x3's were used for the severe angled corners. I used a 'Sliding Bevel' to transfer all the angles. The boards were then cut on a miter saw and the corner blocks were ripped down with a circular saw with the fence set to the appropriate angle.

The idea is you plant late season potatoes in the bottom, then add more boards & soil as the potatoes grow until you reach the top. The late season potatoes are suppose to grow multiple clutches of potatoes along their buried stem so yield should be greatly increased. The word is they can produce 100lbs per bin, that would be pretty cool! Normally you would just start with a single row of boards and then built it up as the potatoes grow. I did a full set of boards on the two sides because I can't add more boards against the house and the other side does not receive any direct sunlight.

I have a few things to do before I can plant any potatoes. First my potatoes have to arrive, they were suppose to be shipped April 10th. I have to dig out the raised bed that it will reside in and refill it with good soil. I also have to have the water meter reader moved as it is in the side yard and the bin blocks the guys access. It can't be moved fast enough, the guy keeps stepping on my veggies! You may also be wondering about the upside down pot. That is my rhubarb that I am forcing to make it more tender & sweet. It is almost ready to harvest, once that is done it will be moved elsewhere.

I will end with today's sunset over the Grand River.


  1. You are a real craftsman Dan! That looks well made and ingeneously fits into the space - making full use of a tight area.

    What's all involved with the water meter move? Will they have to dig into your garden areas to get that accomplished? Or is it a relatively easy task to complete (non invasive to the garden)?

  2. KitsapFG - The water meter is in the basement and then there is a little black thing on the outside wall that transmits the reading. All they will have to do is move the line through the basement ceiling and then out to the front of the house. They move it for free too.

  3. Your bin looks awesome!!! I know what you mean about taking a while to complete it. Always takes longer than expected. The good news is you got it done, and soon you can start the potatoes. Very nice work!!

  4. Dan, that is an amazing potato bin. Glad to see pics finally. You've been talking about it for a while now, great to see it finished. You know, I may very well put the back boards all the way up like you did. It is always a pain to screw them in with the fence there. Too bad I didn't see this or think of it before I planted everything. Good call!

  5. Very nice. I keep wondering if I will even get potatoes. I've been trying to find them around here and have been having such problems. I may end up with some Yukon Golds. I can't go up with those.

  6. The crops you will be harvesting this summer will truly be impressive...... Great bin!

  7. It will be cool to see how much more you will harvest with the bin... Great Job...!!!! :)

  8. This is such a good idea. I can't wait to see how many you harvest! Good job on the bevel too.

  9. I've heard the same 100lbs from the bin thing, but I have to say, getting 10lbs from one plants is considered *really excellent*. Unless you can fit 10 really productive plants in there, the estimate has been skewed and skewed up everytime someone designs a new potato bin. Even gurney's says 13lbs from their 18"x18" bin. We built one last year and loved it, but planted late and planted yukon golds (not the best variety for northern climates, I later learned). We didn't expect to get any since we planted so late, but from 6 plants we got 5lbs. Keep us posted though, it looks great and I wish you the best of luck.

  10. Dan - beautiful work! Good idea on putting the back part together.

  11. Everything you build for your garden is absolutely beautiful! You've got enviable skills!

  12. SuburbanGardener - Thanks, I can't wait to get the spuds growing.

    Sinfonian - I do seem to take ages to complete everything, glade it is finished finally.

    Daphne - It is harder & harder to find garden supplies at stores and even harder to find specific varieties. I just go with mail order. Then you have to deal with slow shipping. You just can't win.

    Rosemary - Thanks

    Hendria - Harvest time will be fun, its only 4 months away...

    Tina - Glade you like my bevels :-) I hope it produces alot.

    Jennifer - I am skeptical about the 100lbs but it would be great if it happens. The bin is rather large so I think I can squeeze in 8-10 plants. The key to these is to only plant late season varieties, any other varieties will only produce potatoes in the bottom 6" like your Yukon Golds.

    EG - Thanks EG. I can't wait until it is filled to the top, hopefully with potatoes.

    Sandy - Thanks for the compliment. The right tools do most of the work though with a little patience added in.

  13. Now that is an innovative build-as-you-grow potato bin! Awesome :-) I think that it's great that you are making the most of every square inch that you have to garden in. No wasted space in your garden!

    Ah, that is a beautiful sunset photo!

  14. Judy - I think I would take the cake for the most angular potato bin.

  15. Definitely fancier than my bin.

    I'm continuously shocked at how fast potatoes grow. Seems every day I go out there and the plants are twice as big.