We’re growing pot

Oops, sorry, we’re growing pots plural.

Wait, no, that’s not right either.  We’re actually growing potatoes.

The pots are the irrigation system, as per that book I mentioned, Gardening with Less Water.

The idea is that you seal the hole on the bottom of the terracotta pots, then you bury the pots almost up to the rim.  You fill them up with water, which then seeps through the porous pot into the surrounding soil.  It’s an osmotic process, so apparently the rate at which water goes through is proportional to the rate at which the surrounding roots soak it up.  Not convinced.  We will see.

We’ve planted four seed potatoes around each pot and have left the side nearest the walkway unplanted, for ease of pot-filling.  There’s also plenty of room to make a small trench on each side as we dig into the soil for earthing up the potatoes.  That’s why these pots aren’t fully interred, by the way – to allow for the fact that we’ll be covering up the potato shoots for the first couple of weeks.

I was lucky enough to pick up 20 second-hand terracotta pots and their saucers cheap on leboncoin (a French version of donedeal or craigslist).  These are phase one of our terracotta watering system.  Phase two is these guys :

These are ollas, based on a clay pot used by the Chinese for irrigation more than 2000 years ago.  I managed to find these on ebay, in France, mind you.  At least they didn’t have to come from China!  But the price!  Per pot, they were roughly ten times what I paid for the plant pots.  I have a suspicion it will be a matter of  ‘You get what you pay for.’  Water seems to go through the plant pots incredibly slowly.  So slowly, in fact, that I fear there is some sort of impermeable layer in them.  Whereas the olla we tested became wet on the outside within an hour of being filled with water.

Hmmmm.  Worst case, we will have to water our spuds the conventional way.  Even worster case – everyone tells me that potato growing is a disaster here, so I could spend the summer watering with nothing to show for it.

Oh well, it’s all experimentation.

Next in series : Growing Water Bottles

Pervious in series : Gardening with less water


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