Over the past eight years I’ve lived in three different places and have homesteaded each one to varying degrees. As a result, I’ve adapted some methods for low-impact temporary homesteading. One of the most useful and important is container planting. I have several light-weight planters made from a plastic pickle barrel cut into thirds. These are easy to handle and to move from place to place, and they work so well that when I finally settle down on my own homestead again, I plan to continue using them.
One of the best uses for the planters is to grow potatoes. I used all three of them at my previous places to grow melons and sweet potatoes, and this year I used only the bottom section to grow two “regular” potato plants. I simply filled the planter with compost and stuck the potato pieces down inside it. As the plants grew, I added grass clippings and mulch hay to build up the covering around the plants.
However, I wasn’t sure where to put the container in the yard. It seemed to be in the way no matter where I put it, so finally I decided to keep it in a child’s plastic wagon. This way I could move it out of the way or change its location without having to lift it.
When it came time to harvest the potatoes, all we had to do was lift the plants out of the compost and then feel around for any stragglers. When we were done, we took the barrel behind the garage to store it for the winter. Now all we have to do is decide how to eat those potatoes – mashed, fried or au gratin!