At the office, I planted potatoes using a couple of different methods a home gardener might try.
One was the square foot gardening method where I planted potatoes in 2 squares side-by-side. I used the 'high-rise' method where I built another 1' x 2' x 6" square so that I could add more soil as the potatoes grew. In total, the square foot gardening method gave me about 12" of depth in which potatoes could form.
|5/23/12, about 8 weeks of growth|
The other method of raising potatoes was using a grow bag. I had 2 different colors of these bags (which cost me $20 each). With this method, you fill up the bag, eventually to the top, as the potato grows.
|4 seed pieces per square planted 3/28/12|
Kennebec potatoes were planted on 3/28/12. Four seed pieces went in each square of the square foot garden and 8 seed pieces were planted into each grow bag. So each method was planted with equal numbers of seed pieces.
|8 seed pieces were planted in each bag 3/28/12|
So, here's what the plants looked like prior to harvest:
|Square foot garden 7/17/12|
|Tan bag 7/17/12|
|Black bag 7/17/12|
And here's the harvest 16 weeks after planting:
|Left sq ft garden, middle black bag, right tan bag|
Pure numbers tell us that the 2 squares of the square foot garden produced the best, yielding 19 potatoes weighing 4.05#.
The black bag ended up producing a lot of little tubers (23 total) weighing in at 2.69#.
The tan bag produced the least (13 tubers in all) weighing 2.13#.
The best quality is dependent on whether you like new potatoes over baking or slicing sized potatoes. For new potatoes, the black bag produced more smaller ones. However, I would say the best overall was the sq ft garden harvest.
I suspect that in a 'normal' year (whatever that is) overall, plants would have yielded more. With temps in the 100s for a week or more, tubers will not (and did not) size up. I suspect that perhaps the medium in which the tubers were forming was cooler in the sq ft garden bed than in the grow bags. However, I did not measure the temperature.