U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Using Raised Beds In Winter. Part 2

This is a brief report about my experience with two of my wooden framed beds. First post is here: Using Raised Beds In Winter. The final result - success! I will do it again!
The idea was to find more space for making compost since my compost pile and composter were full already. All the usual materials - dry leaves, selected food leftovers, newspapers, egg cartons, weeds, finished perennials, etc. were used. Not all the ingredients were 100% rotten. I removed the bigger remaining pieces with a rake and my hands. But, most of the ingredients composted totally.
 Since I was not sure if there were enough needed elements in the compost, one or a half of a garden soil bag was mixed in while a final preparation of the beds was made in spring.
 Things for myself to remember:
- place smaller pieces of materials into the beds;
- stop adding tougher materials in early spring;
- never ever ever put potato rinds in the compost, UNLESS you want to grow potatoes there!
I did put some potato rinds in the raised beds. Then, in spring, I tried to get them out. Naturally, some of them remained uncovered and started sprouting in spring. I decided to leave several plants and voila! we had normal, middle to large size tasty potatoes!
 I have potatoes growing in  my garden from the store-bought potatoes which I planted just because they were not used in the kitchen and I wanted to show my kids that potatoes don't grow in a grocery store (here is the post Back To Potatoes!) So, I have those potatoes growing already for the third season. Now, rind potatoes joined them. I think I'll never get rid of them and I don't want to!
Raised bed potatoes were EASY, since I didn't do any hilling. There is not enough soil and space there for hilling. Nevertheless, potatoes grew well! Here are some pictures.
Above: in August, the green potatoe plants on the back and fava beans in front of the picture.
 I don't harvest all of the potatoes at the same time. Usually, I dig only as many potatoes as needed for dinner.
Above: If one of the smallest potatoes shown above is left in the soil, it'll start growing in the spring.
 Above and below: The size of the potatoes was pretty big.
 I also have Peruvian Purple fingerling potatoes. They also grow from the potatoes that I first planted in 2009. They are ready to be harvested while their foliage is still green.
 In the next picture, you can see how dense is the fingerlings' foliage. The vines were up to 9 feet long. All the lower right quarter in the picture is taken by Purple Peruvian foliage with small white flowers:
I have already started to dump composting materials into one of the raised beds. To keep the raised beds looking tidy, I cover  them with soil. Prior to that, I removed the upper layer of the soil and spread it around the garden.

***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS


  1. Every thing looks so healthy! You have a very productive garden. :)

  2. Tanya, what are you going to do with Purple Peruvian potatoes? I've first met it here and I don't know how to cook it.

  3. I didn't realize potato rinds would turn into plants! A good lesson.

  4. Wow, potato rinds make new potatoes...hmmm. I have had them sprout from some rotten ones I have thrown in my mini compost heap. But I never harvested's behind a bunch of shrubs, and is well hidden.

    I love raised beds, always will.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  5. You have a great looking garden and congratulations on your successful experiment with composting in place! Your produce looks so healthy.

  6. Thank you everyone!
    Stasy, I cook them (whole or cut in half) in the oven with salt, pepper, garlic mix and olive or grape seed oil.

  7. One year I was trying to start a woody shrub and was told to put it in a potato. The shrub died, but I got some wonderful potatoes. I agree with the rinds in the compost. I had a potato growing with my grape and that is the only way the could have happened. Your garden is beautiful.

  8. Great post, Tanya ! Love to see your vegetable garden. I have some small potatoes ready to sow now. We have a mild winter here, so I think, I will give it a try ...
    Have a nice evening !

  9. As my Father got older he switched to veg in raised beds. I like yours.

  10. Love those purple potatoes! I never thought about growing things with long (9ft!) vines in a raised bed. Looks like you've had great success, though!

  11. What a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing. I read both posts and hope to finally convince my husband to let me have my raised bed(s) in the garden ;-)

  12. We garden in raised beds too. I find that more managable than the traditional garden that I grew up tending. I've not grown potatoes yet, but I need to plant some. Carla

  13. fantatic raised beds - you are so clever. I always rotate my vegetable plantings, but yours look so healthy. Returning plantings tothe soil is very nature-like

  14. Love this post Tatyana, wish I had the room to do this on a large scale. However, I am going to try some cold frame plantings on my patio.


  15. A great way to make a garden, above the ground. My son does that also. I have never seen puple potato's but they probably taste the same.Good health to you and Bon appetite.

  16. A really long time ago I made the mistake with the potatoes rinds in the compost. Yes, many potatoes appeared. It was a learning experience and found out much later from Cornell that is highly frowned upon for the spread of potato blight. Good reminder for all, Tatyana.

  17. You're growing purple Fingerlings! My fave! Would you like my address? You can send me a basket of them. :))) Just teasing. Green with envy that you're still growing strong. I'm shoveling snow...

  18. I like the idea of taking the top layer off the bed and spreading it around the other plants. I usually end up adding lots of compost because the large roots take a lot of soil with them.

  19. I am impressed! You make it sound so easy I want to grow some potatoes of my own! I would like to try the purple ones just because they are so pretty!

  20. I envy you your mild winter weather. The spuds look great.


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