Tag Archives: grow potatoes

Full day homesteading skills class

Thanks to everyone who completed the survey for what people are looking for as far as education here in Indy. Here is the first response to that. Based on the survey results this is what most people wanted to see.

Full day homesteading basics class. 8 full hours plus free samples to take home. As of now here is the breakdown of the class. This is for people from apartments to rural areas. I will give examples of how you can implement in just about any situation. I will bring examples, what materials I use, photos, and a CD/DVD of resources I use when I need additional information.

Class will be $40 per person or $60/couple. If bringing the family or more than 2 please contact me for other arrangements. Pay in advance or at the door. Cash only at the door. You will save the cost of the class alone if you just adopt and use a few of the topics mentioned.  Due to the limitations of Meetup payments (can’t do discounts based on number of people) contact me if you want to pay in advance with cash or use electronic payment.

Register through one of the Meetup groups below although not required. There is a limited number of seats but should accommodate a larger class size but to guarantee a seat registration is recommended.

http://www.meetup.com/AlternativeGardening/

http://www.meetup.com/Indiana-Disaster-Preparedness/

Here is what is being offered. I can add additional topics if time and my experience permits. Seats, and tables provided along with two large overhead screens for notes and examples. There will be breaks and a lunch period as well. Bring your lunch or visit one of the many local places.

  1. Backyard Grocery (fall is one of the best times to start this)
    1. Mini Orchard
    2. Vegetable garden
    3. Edible landscaping
    4. Aquaponics
    5. Backyard Chickens
    6. Goats
    7. Bees
    8. Rabbits
    9. Vertical Gardening
    10. Potatoes
    11. Container Gardening
    12. Medicinal Herbs
    13. Composting and mulch
    14. Water harvesting and rainbarrels
  2. Food Preservation (what to do with everything you harvest)
    1. Canning
      1. Water bath canning
      2. Pressure canning
    2. Dehydrating
    3. Freezing
    4. Smoking
    5. Fermenting
  3. DIY
    1. Laundry soap – how to make – free samples 5 ingredients or less
    2. Tooth paste – how to make – free samples 3 ingredients or less
    3. Bar soap – how to make –(free samples if cured in time)
    4. Fire starters – how to make
    5. Homemade bread – very simple steps <5 ingredients. Way more healthy for family
    6. Homemade pasta – very simple steps <5 ingredients. Way more healthy for family
    7. Make your own ethanol
    8. Battery backup for emergency home power use
    9. Make your own generator from your car with an inverter

Planting Barrel V 2.0

So I took the time and redesigned what was a strawberry barrel and no came up with a planting barrel. You can put so much more than just strawberries in them. If you are limited on space, you just want to maximize space, or wanting a new way to display your flowering plants this could work. And bonus it has a built in composter/fertilizer in the center. In 2′ garden space there is not 60 different planting sites.

All of the steps are available for sale.

I started with a 55 gal white food grade barrel with the top cut off. These are available for $20

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Next I drilled drainage holes in the bottom. Also available for $20 and can be used for a potato barrel. You could probably get 3-4 layers of potatoes in one barrel, around 30-60 lbs of potatoes.

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Next pilot holes along the outside edge for cutting the holes.

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Using a jigsaw  I cut approximately 9″ lines between the holes but not connecting them.

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Using a blowtorch I softened the plastic and inserted empty wine bottles to hold the shape until the plastic cools. Do this in a well ventilated area, and make sure the caps are off the bottles. Learned that one hard way. If the bottles heat up and the cork/lids are still on they can explode from the pressure.

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You have to keep the row above filled with bottles while forming the second one down. As you heat the plastic the upper pockets will start to close.

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Here is the completed barrel with composted in the center and filled with compost/mulch mix ready to be planted. I plan on making this into a salad/herb garden, with varieties of lettuce, cooking herbs, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes. I will publish and post once the plants start to develop.

These are available for $70 empty,

$80 full of compost/mix,

$90 with composter and prepopulated with worms.

$120 filled with strawberries and all of the above

$150 filled with salad and cooking herb mix.

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These are made to order and some plants may not be available. Allow 2-3 days from order to availability. There may be an increased price based on plants requested. Delivery is also available and there may be a fee based on distance from SR 135 and Stop 11.

To order or ask questions use the contact us page or the consulting page.

Potatoes

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So this is the first year either of us have ever grown potatoes. Have no idea why we haven’t until now, but just thought it was effort and trouble. That and potatoes are cheap.

We read about growing them in stacked tires. You lay one tire down. Put your seed potatoes in and cover. When the plants get 6” tall put another tire on and add more soil until plants are covered to the top with only the top of the last layer of growth exposed. Keep repeating until the tires are 4-5 tall. Each layer will sprout more potatoes in the new level. So each layer can have a couple of pounds of potatoes.

We started then and got about 2-3 tires tall then the plants died mid-summer from heat and drought. We didn’t water much in hopes to make plants stronger and reduce costs; we have city water, and hadn’t put in our rain collection systems yet.

So we let them sit until we started to cut down the remaining garden assuming our potato days were over. We still had two sweet potato plants and were still green so no big loss.

Once we moved the tires we found about 3 lbs of red, and Idaho potatoes in the dirt. We cooked them up and planted some of the potatoes we harvested that had already started to re-sprout. They are growing will and are not on level two.

Here is a picture of the sweet potatoes we got from TWO plants. Neither of us have ever cooked sweet potatoes, but that is some haul from only two plants. Next year we think we will plant 10 or so potato plots if not more. Trying to scope out more free tires. You would have thought the tire stores would just give them to you. No so. After visiting 4 different places, none would give them to me. And they have to PAY to get rid of them. More of our good ol’ government at work. Regulations prevent them for giving them to us I found out later. Back to good ol’ Craigslist and find me someone trying to get rid of them.