The Noble Carrot Potato Initiative (NCPI) is being proposed as an educational project focusing on growing potatoes in backyard “Potato Barrels” or bins
The NCPI will evaluate equipment, soil ratios, potato varieties, watering methods, yield and benefit distribution
- Equipment: The NCPI is lucky to have been the recipient of collapsible/ stackable bins through Tom Engh. These bins will be used in this years study. Following years will re-use these bins but, also use potato bags and barrels
- Potato Varieties: 4 varieties will be chosen this year based on success and recommendation of the Kenosha Potato Project. These varieties have been chosen with an expectation to do well in our project. The varieties being considered are: Batoche, Bintje, Blue Goose, Calico, Caribe, Dutch Blue, Eersteling, Fortyfold, Kemerovskii and Mountain Rose
- Watering: Different methods will be employed including drip irrigation, soaker hose, natural and typical household watering.
- Soil Ratio: 3 different soil mixtures will be used including mixtures using compost, composted manure, straw, sand and black dirt
- Yield Analysis: Potatoes will be harvested., weighed and data will be collected on type, watering method and soil. A “best practices” will be developed for each type of potato used for this study
- Member Benefit: Each member will receive a percentage of the overall harvest, a percentage will go to a food bank and a significant percentage will be sold to help fund further initiatives.
Project Benefit to The Noble Carrot:
We believe this project meets two of the guiding principals in our mission statement, to innovate and educate. The innovation lies in the small space, collapsible bins being used. The education portion will encompass information gathering, small space gardening instruction and introduction to rare potato types. While this project may not be “cutting edge” we believe it forms a foundation for further exploration of small space gardening.
Project Costs and Resources needed:
- Potato Bins: Estimated sections of bins needed 40 for 20 two level projects. These will be supplied by Tom Engh
- Soil / Planting Materials: Assuming all bins are 2’ x 3’ x 10” the total yards of material needed is 7.4 cubic yards.
- 4 Yards planting mix @ 30 per yard: $120.00
- 3 Yards of composted manure @ 5.00 per yard: $15.00
- 1 Yard of sand @ 30 per yard: $30.00
- 4 Bales of straw @ 3.50 each: $14.00
- Seed Potatoes: Assuming 20 bins will be planted this year and assuming 1lb of seed potatoes per bin: 40lbs @ 4.00Lbs: $160.00
- Total project costs: $349.00
- Soil / Planting material mixing and dividing 3 volunteers @ 4 hours each
- Dividing and labeling seed potatoes 1 volunteer @ 2 hours
- Delivering bins, soil mixtures and potatoes (Truck or van needed) 2 volunteers @ 4 hours each
- Weighing and dividing potatoes 2 volunteers @ 3 hours each
- 2 to 3 farmers’ market days 4 to 6 volunteers possible split shifts
Members will receive a “Potato Kit” dropped off at their place of residence. The kit will include 2 collapsible /stackable bin sections, planting material, seed potatoes and support instructions. Members will be required to water and care for their project, harvest potatoes, bring potatoes in for yield analysis and care for the supplies.
- February 1st order seed potatoes
- March 13th order soil for delivery
- March 16th mix and divide soil
- March 23rd deliver “Potato Kits”
- April 6th Plant
- July 20th –August 3rd Harvest
- August 17th, 24th and 31st Farmers’ Market
- Sept 7th Potato soup lunch for members
Our production goals are modest this year and we believe are attainable. We believe each “Potato Bin” should yield 50Lbs of potatoes and we have set a goal of 1000Lbs. While production goals are important to benchmark our growing success, success of this project will not be measured purely by yield. Community involvement, camaraderie and our learning curve are just as important in this initiative.
We believe NCPI will be a great addition to our gardening experience. This project will allow us to learn and develop how we manage larger scale projects. We look forward to feedback and participation of our members in addition to further building the community we have.