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Ventilation tubes for an underground bunker awaiting habitation in the event of Armageddon?Or potato planters? Either way, they’re a lovely addition to the landscape.

Because I’m not much of a gardener and I’m lazy, I assume that if I know a gardening trick, it must be old news. But Captain OCD didn’t know about this trick until I told him a few years ago, and most of his life has been spent with plants. I thought everyone knew the trick about planting potatoes in old tires or garbage cans (these are drainage pipes), but I’ve recently been told otherwise.

potato tubes

Plant the potatoes in the ground and put the tires or whatever you use over them. Or, you can put a little dirt (I think that’s generally known as soil in gardening parlance) in the tubes and plant the potatoes in that. As they grow, cover them with dirt (leaving the top of the plants free), a little at a time, throughout the season. You can periodically dig new potatoes throughout the growing season. By the end of the season you’ll have potatoes both in the ground and in the dirt in the container. At the end of the season when the plants die back (after they flower), leave the potatoes in the dirt for a week and then dig them: They’ll keep a lot longer that way. Two years ago we had potatoes for months after the end of the growing season (kept in a cool, dark place). This is an efficient way to get a lot of potatoes in a smaller area, and the dirt stays warmer, so they grow well.

These big black things seem to spontaneously generate each year, so that there are about twice as many as last year. Captain OCD is terribly excited to get his garden going this year (and I haven’t had to remind him that the only thing I’m doing with the garden is eating out of it), and has added purple potatoes to the inventory to go along with white, red, and yellow potatoes.