Try as I might, I’ve never actually filled these 18″ potato rings to the top. Either I have other uses for the yard clippings or get sidetracked, but this year I did fill them to 8″. With four plants in each, they were each filled with green grass clippings, then some wood chips for carbon, some soil when I’d used up the clippings elsewhere, then finally another batch of clippings. Each time you add clippings, within three to four weeks they compact down and start to compost, ending up 1/3 or less of their height by the end of the season. Keeping a supply of nutrient rich materials under a plastic tarp or in another container may be the solution when I use the rings again next year. The original idea was to stack a second ring on top of the first when the plants and compost got high enough, but I abandoned that idea for now since I can’t seem to fill them over a season.
Vowing to do at least something in the garden every day, I noticed one of the rings had died back,
meaning it was time to get in and harvest before the other creatures decided it was time to stock up on the starches. Lifting the ring, several good sized spuds toppled out, with many more underneath. About 10-12 lbs from the 2-1/2 foot ring – and that was the one that gave up the ghost early. If it’s not pouring rain out tomorrow I may go for another one to see how it faired.
I was able to get a couple of canvas sacks from our local “Elbow Room Coffee” roaster for free (I go there when I can – can’t beat her coffee and I drive over 100 miles a day, so she’s that good!). Next year, along with the rings, a sack of potatoes with three or four stakes to hold it up will be competing in one of my garden beds. Perhaps the overgrown strawberry bed will be their home in 2016.