Thursday, March 29, 2007


I've been brushing up on some reading, and was happy to find that potatoes love petunias. (And being such a hardy hot-weather trooper, who wouldn't?)

I'm so happy to be seeing how so many gardeners are raising their plants, and now that the winter in so many areas is either over or abating, how they're starting off their gardening year.

Willa's recent entry, and James' recent entry are two good examples of great solutions in potato-growing. Willa is using the cardboard box idea, and James is recycling used tires (tyres!)

I do have a box, and I do have potatoes getting pretty sprouty (wonder if those can be planted?). I decided I could start with the box idea, since those are pretty easy for me to find around here.

Then I read that for a companion plant, petunias "heart" potatoes.

If growing them in a tall container...tall box, stacked tires, wire mesh/hay/soil, then to accomodate a companion plant, since the potato, which starts out in the lower levels of said planters and then is mounded up-up-upwards as it grows?

Perhaps I can "cheat." I did this in my wee flowerbed back in Tennessee, when I got so sick of pulling weeds and had a schedule that didn't allow for much in the way of free weed-pulling time. I partially sank pots right into the ground and then mulched the heck out of the surrounding ground. If you mass enough plants this way, half-sink them into the ground as opposed to setting them right up on the surface, somehow it seems to conserve the moisture more so they don't dry out much. And when they get big enough, they cover the top of the pot edges so that it look like they're growing right out of the ground anyway. A border, such as monkey grass, and the effect is complete.

Well, I have plenty of those thin plastic pots...the sort plants come in when you buy them at the (ahem) garden center. The sort that get tossed in the corner of the shed because they're not so pretty or sturdy, but they're still plenty servicable and you just know you'll use them later.

I'm thinking if I plant a start of a petunia in one of those flimsy but good-sized black plastic pots, I can sink that into the soil of the "boxed" potato plant at one corner. As the soil gets added to and mounded higher, I'll just pull the pot out, readjust it down in the higher soil level each time, and hopefully by the time the potato plant is big and going great guns, the petunia will be, too.

And then they can live happily ever after, side by side.

Or at least until we eat all those little Mr. Potato Heads.


sugarcreekfarm said...

Wow, that's a new one to me, potatoes and petunias. Cool! What book or resource would you recommend for companion planting? I've never done much of it but want to try some this year.

Robbyn said...


The only two I've read so far are Carrots Love Tomatoes

and more recently, A-Z of Companion Planting by Pamela Allardice

I'm sure there are some other greats out there. Both of these are good. The second is where I found the mention of the petunias :) Checked out both through my public library...neat, eh?

Willa said...

I am surprised, too, to hear about petunias and potatoes. I don't think I'm going to be able to work it out to set pots of petunias in the potato boxes, as you describe, because we pretty much only use straw over the potatoes. (At least, that's what we always did when we DIDN'T use the box- we just threw the potatoes on the ground and covered them with a heavy mulch of straw, raking it off when it was time to harvest the potatoes. I wanted to add more soil to the boxes, rather than using as much straw, but Chuck is hard to convince, and while he was filling the boxes, I was talking on the phone with one of our sons. By the time I got off the phone, he had already gone ahead with what he wanted to do.) But enough about that- I wonder if I would get a beneficial effect by putting a pot of petunias next to the box?

I'll be keeping a close eye on what you are doing, though.