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Last week I shared pictures of our land, mostly in its bare state, from when we first moved here. We have 2 acres in Central Wyoming. We’ve had plenty of challenges since moving here in the area of gardening and homesteading.  I was relating my tales of woe in one of my newsletters. Many people took pity on me and responded with tips and suggests to help my not-very-green thumb.  Thank you all! I’m sure our 2012 garden will be successful. 🙂  I’ll be sharing as the season progresses since I know you will all be “waiting on the edge of your seat” to find out.

One person who responded to my newsletter agreed to do a guest post and share pictures and tips for growing a large producing garden in a small space.  Ken encourages everyone to build a garden (big or small) in their own backyard. “You can do it for fun. You can do it for your health. You can do it for fresh food in these troubled times. The point is get out and do it for whatever reason that you need.” Ken blogs at Garden for your life. In this guest post he shares pictures of his raised beds and a tutorial on how to grow 30-50 pounds of potatoes in very little space.   Thanks Ken!— Millie


Raised Beds








Here’s a couple of pics of my garden.  One to the left of the gate and one to the right.  The large beds are 3’x6′  and the small ones are  3’x3′.  I’ve since added three more to the left and fenced them in to keep out the dawgs!


Potato Bins!

So you are tight on space and want to grow the perfect food and get a lot of it.  OK, lets make a couple of potato bins!   I’m making a stackable one so I can make the potato’s grow upwards instead of just one spot.   Perfect for the small backyard.  Its a small space but I expect a good harvest out of this 55 gl drum.  Some folks use tires stacked on top of each other.  This one will have more room in it and no chemicals that might leach out from a tire.  As the plant grows you add rings and fill in more dirt.  Come harvest time the hole drum will be filled with potatoes!  All you have to do is pull off a ring, remove the dirt, and gather the potatoes.  The rest you leave in the bin to store until you need them.

First find a suitable container.  In this case I’ll use a 55 gallon drum that I’m replacing as a rain barrel.  Its the wrong color that lets to much light thru so algae grew in it. 

This one also has molded ribs that will allow stacking after cutting.  That way as you add dirt they will stay together better.


Drainage is important so drill a few holes in the bottom.









Now cover the holes with 1/4 hardware cloth to hold in the dirt.

Add dirt and ready to plant.

A couple weeks later they are starting to come up.

One has red pontiac and one has kennebec’s.  As the potato’s grow I’ll add the other rings, more dirt until its all full.  Once the vines die off I can harvest a ring at a time, keeping the rest in the ground until needed.


Ken Lowder is a retired Coastie who lives in SE Texas. When not working as a paramedic in the Houston area He can be found in his garden,  raising quail for eggs and meat, the shooting range, or riding on one of his motorcycles. A long time Christian! He has been married to this cute woman He found in Hawaii over 30 years ago. He has a garden blog  at Garden for your life.


Thank you Ken! Be sure to visit Ken’s blog for even more pictures of his backyard garden. 

If you would like to share pictures of your garden/homestead no matter how big or small please email me at realfoodforlessmoney (at) gmail (dot) com.


What are you growing or raising in your backyard? Share in the comments.

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