Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Streetside Potato Farm June 22, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I took a stroll to the public library to return some overdue books and on the way I saw a raised bed in the parking strip I hadn’t notice before. It was a biggie, most of the width of the property, and pretty much a monoculture.

Potato/rhubarb planter box

As of a few months ago, I might not have recognized this crop, thinking it looked a bit like tomatoes but not quite (they are both members of the nightshade family, along with tobacco, peppers and eggplant). Now that I am a potato farmer myself, on a much smaller scale, I realized right away that this gardener is gunning for a really big crop o’ spuds.

They were all planted in nice neat rows and hilled up (the new potatoes form between the original seed potato and the top of the hill).

Potato farm on street

Potatoes do take up a bit of room, so I can see why the streetside planter box was tempting to build. OK, it wasn’t quite a monoculture – there were some really massive rhubarb plants at the end of the rows.

Rhubarb forest

I’d seen rhubarb on the street before but not potatoes. Urban farming is really catching on in Seattle, as is parking strip gardening. I love it when I see people combining the two!

(Oh, that whole signing off for the summer thing didn’t last long, did it? I guess I must be addicted to blogging. Not going to be a daily thing but when I can get to it, I will.)


12 Responses to “Streetside Potato Farm”

  1. Tatyana Says:

    Isn’t it great?! I love it!

  2. Racquel Says:

    What a great use of space for growing some taters!

  3. Thanks for sharing this really good example of how people around the world are getting very adventurous about growing stuff in public places. There’s a mini-roundabout about two hundred yards down our road which I was sorely tempted to stick some sunflowers in a month or so ago, but works were going on replacing gas pipes and the guys parked their digger on it every night, by the time it was free I’d given the plants away for friends’ gardens:-). Maybe next year…
    Our UK equivalent of parking strips are grass verges and generally not supposed to be parked on as it churns up the grass! Round here (SW London) they’re less than three feet wide and used by dogs, so not sure that veg growing is a practical proposition. Plus the neighbours would moan if they couldn’t get out of their cars for brussels sprouts and runner beans! (Or maybe gooseberry bushes – ow!-).
    I would guess our equivalent of raccoons would be foxes, which dig up worms and potatoes on my allotment, make huge holes everywhere and destroy young plants. Not as agile and greedy as the grey squirrels tho.
    I just found a request you left about homeopathy remedies on my blog months ago! When I catch up with myself I will go back to this topic. I like your blog a lot, hope you get the chance to post more this summer.

  4. That is going to be a lot of potatoes, I wonder if they are supplying a restaurant!?

  5. Catherine Says:

    That is a lot of potatoes! Don’t you ever wish you could ask someone why they would plant so much of one thing?
    I think it’s great that they are making good use of their parking strip, and it makes it look so much nicer too.

  6. Jen Says:

    That’s a lotta papas. How about a little rosemary to roast them with!?

  7. Jane Says:

    i love the idea of growing them there, but I’m a little concerned about their use of treated lumber for the sides of the planter. Regular wood won’t last as long, but the farmer might last longer!

  8. Kristi Says:

    Wow! that’s so great. I am also jealous of the variety.

  9. Georgia Says:

    How cool! Never did anything with my street tree planting area (too many inattentive dog walkers).

  10. Matron Says:

    That is so great to see people using tiny little strips of space to grow food in a big city. It is amazing what you can fit in to a small space if you put some thought into it.

  11. Cammy Says:

    Those are beautiful. I just stumbled upon your blog and it’s exaclty what I need to get to work this summer, thank you!

    • greenwalks Says:

      Hi Cammy – Thank you so much. I haven’t been here much lately, as you might have noticed! Thank goodness for archives and tagging, I guess. Good luck, hope you will share what you build/plant this growing season, I’d love to see or hear about it.

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