Survival Gardening With an Early Start for Potatoes

            Here’s a survival gardening experiment.  Try planting a few potatoes earlier than usual this year by putting one potato in three or five gallon buckets of soil in a garage or basement where temps are well above freezing.  Provide light from a shop lamp or nearby sunny window.


Perhaps you could start potatoes in grow bags.  Roll the sides of the bags down until the potato plants grow and need more soil.  Then you can gradually unroll the bag.. .


            Potatoes grow best in cooler weather.  If you can start them early in containers or bags indoors, you can move them outside when conditions are more favorable.


            If you think growing potatoes in the garden in winter is impossible, then consider the experience of one North Carolina grower in this excerpt from a “Backwoods Home Magazine” article.


Plant your Irish potatoes this fall or winter


By Robert L. Williams


Admittedly, this type of gardening is a little harder, takes a little longer, and seems to be a total flop. But wait till spring and see the difference.


During the depths of winter the snows and rains will cause the mulch materials to decay and, as the mulch decays, warmth is generated, just as green hay or green sawdust will generate heat as it decays. The heat is generated for several weeks or even months, depending upon the amount of mulch used, and causes the potato sets to begin their growth cycle so that the roots begin to grow. The second layer of mulch and the dirt on top of it prevents the heat from escaping rapidly, while the soil on top is too cold for the plants to emerge from the soil. Small potatoes start to form very early, and they will grow all winter.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. 1-800-835-2418


            To understand the author’s growing method, you’ll need to read the entire article.  Granted, if you follow his procedure, it’s best to start winter potatoes in the fall.  Make a note now to yourself to start a few next fall.  Meanwhile, consider starting a few right now and get an early start on your survival gardening.




Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.