My 3 Monsters: Growing Potatoes {New Miracle-Gro Expand-n-Gro Concentrated Planting Mix}

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Growing Potatoes {New Miracle-Gro Expand-n-Gro Concentrated Planting Mix}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’ve got a pretty serious case of the spring fever, folks.  I’m cleaning and freshening everything I can get my hands on.  I’m leaving my windows wide open to breathe in as much fresh air as possible before the Arizona heat sets in, which it is bound to do any day now.  I have one more project in the works that I need to get done before it gets too warm --  planting potatoes.  Yup.  I said it.  I live in Arizona and my yard is itty-bitty {and a tad neglected, I’m not gonna’ lie} and I am planting potatoes.  My friend Launa, a certified gardening genius, gave me a bag of Yukon Gold seed potatoes last week to try and grow.  She had lots of success with hers last year, so I’m excited to give it a try.

My yard is sad, however.  The soil is dry and hard and I can just imagine it sucking the life right out of those potatoes so I’m going to try a fun little experiment and plant them above ground in laundry baskets.  Yup.  You heard me.  Laundry baskets.  I found this really cool tutorial on Vegetable Gardener about planting seed potatoes in dollar store laundry baskets.  That way I can use better soil than my neglected native soil.  I mean WAAAYYYYY better soil.

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Miracle-Gro® has a new product out called Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix.  It is specially formulated to help you get awesome results whether you plant in the ground or in containers {even laundry baskets} – up to 3 times more flowers and vegetables versus native soil.  That’s pretty cool.  Plus, it feeds your plants for up to 6 months and improves the soil for years to come.  
This planting mix is different from other basic potting and garden soils because it is a blend of Miracle-Gro plant food and coconut coir fiber.  It expands up to 3 times when mixed with water so a small bag of Expand ‘n Gro can do everything a big, heavy bag of soil can do, only better.  Hopefully even grow potatoes {fingers crossed}.
Expand ‘n Gro is super easy to use, and helps ensure plants get the right amount of moisture and air they need to thrive. I’m not gonna’ get all science-y on you now, but here’s how:  In pots or in-ground, the absorbent coir fibers help ensure that water is used efficiently. Expand ‘n Gro retains up to 50% more moisture than basic potting soils and then releases water as plants need it, to help prevent over or under watering {both of which are sure to happen around here}. Since moisture and nutrients need to reach plant roots, proper air space and circulation in soil is super important for plant health. Tilling this planting mix into native soil can reduce the soil’s density – making it up to 40% lighter, and creating up to 90% more air space. The result is more workable native soil with better water holding ability, moisture distribution, and drainage, all of which ultimately creates an improved rooting environment for plant.  Watch this:

Phew.  Got that?  Now for a super-not-scienc-y rundown of how to plant potatoes in a laundry basket:

  1. Get some plastic laundry baskets from the dollar store and line them with straw or burlap.  The laundry baskets are great because they have holes all over for drainage, but if you don’t line them you’ll lose all your soil in the watering process.  I’m no expert, but I’m thinking that’s not ideal.  I'll share a tutorial for my ruffly basket liners soon, but just an old piece of burlap shoved down in there would do the trick.
  2. Prepare your potatoes for planting.  I’m told you can get seed potatoes online or at some garden centers, but you can also use organic potatoes from the grocery store.  Just let them sit until they start to sprout.  You can generally cut each potato into about 3 pieces as long as you make sure each piece has 2-3 eyes on it.  While you're at it, prepare your Expand-n-Gro, too.
  3. Fill each basket with 2-3 inches of your Expand-n-Gro planting mix.  Drop 3 potato pieces in each basket, spaced evenly, and cover with 2-3 inches of planting mix.
  4. Set your basket in a sunny spot, water regularly and wait.  Try to get some water past your dog, who is very interested in what is going on out there.
  5. Once the plants have grown to 5 or 6 inches in height, scoop more soil into the container.  Leave a couple of inches of the plant showing above the soil.
  6. Continue to water.  Be patient and water slowly so it doesn’t all run out the sides of the basket.
  7. Gradually add more soil as your plant grows.  Once you reach the top of your basket, just keep watering.
  8. At some point your plant should bloom.  That means your potatoes are working, in theory.  Once the  plant shrivels up and dies, it’s time to dig those bad boys up and eat.

I’ll keep you posted about the results.  I’m excited to try it out, especially with my Expand-n-Gro planting mix.  This stuff sounds good.  Miracle-Gro sent me a sample to use for my potatoes, but here’s the best part – they gave me a sample to share with one of my lucky readers, too.  Yay!  I {heart} sharing.  To enter to win, just leave a comment telling me how you would use your Expand-n-Gro planting mix this spring.  Entry deadline is Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.  A winner will be selected using Thursday, March 22nd.   Be sure to leave me an email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.  Happy planting, friends!  Advertisement

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  1. I'm anxious to see how yours turn out! We do a container garden every year, it's mostly herbs, but some veggies and easy fruits like strawberries too. I've always wanted to do potatoes, but I've been afraid to try!

  2. Wow I have never thought of planting potatoes in a container. I hope it works can't wait to see. Love the burlap!

  3. In Alberta Canada and cannot WAIT to see if I can get this product - would LOVE the free sample though.......nothing is free in this world is it??? :-) Purple taters HERE WE COME!!

  4. How did this turn out?

    1. Well . . . mine didn't turn out very well, but I think I planted a little late and then I dug them up too early. They grew, but were only the size of pearl onions. We will try it again for sure!

  5. Do you have a link to make the burlap liners?


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