Stopping Shopping Part 2 – A Bin of Potatoes

What does a bin of potatoes have to do with stopping shopping?  Here’s the lowdown……..

I am currently doing armchair research on my “self-sustaining” home – it’s a futuristic dream folder full of great articles on how to do this, how to build that, grow food and make your own stuff like shoes.

The folder exists even if the reality is still to reach fruition BUT that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to do what I can NOW – start practising what’s in the folder.


I found this great article on potatoes in a barrel – and thought “why the heck should I wait until whenever – I’ll do it NOW!”.

It just so happens I had a spare unused plastic (eek) green bin in the shed gathering dust and rather than go out and buy a new thing, I decided to use that!


I bought the cheapest potting mix at our local plantery along with a couple of seedling potatoes.  Pontiac.

Mr and Mrs Pontiac
Mr and Mrs Pontiac

The article is very strong on drainage so I overcame a phobia about using my B&D drill and made a series of holes in the base of the bin and also around the bottom of the sides.



the fact is, if I can do this then ANYONE can
the fact is, if I can do this then ANYONE can

I then filled the base with some mulch – old dead weeds and leaves and on top of that some rocks for extra drainage –


then I filled the first third or so with veggie patch soil and some of the potting mix – to get the taste of things to come just right for Mr and Mrs Pontiac.


They were delighted to move into their new home in my veggie patch and I now await their impending happy arrivals – in fact one of the seedlings had already started to make little potatoes already so the nursery is now established.

Pontiac nursery - getting ready for a huge Xmas harvest
Pontiac nursery – getting ready for a huge Xmas harvest

Let’s hope they make it through the scorching weather to offer up many kilos of nutritious potatoes.  That’s part of stopping shopping.

Costs incurred:

bin, free

drill, already owned

seedlings, around $6

potting mix, around $8

straw, part of a bale at $10 (the rest is covering the veggie patch)

You could probably source a container at the local dump?  Borrow a drill if needed or bang a nail with a hammer for drainage holes, and go with own soil for the bed.

Anyway – good luck and if you do it on the balcony of your high-rise apartment building, let us know!  Or anywhere!

Buen Camino,


About Nancy Liddle

In 2014 I walked from Seville to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, some 800 ks I walked, aged 56. I learnt that no matter what age we are, our bodies are strong work-horses. Ageing doesn't have to be the nightmare that our culture feeds us. We can be strong and vital and energetic! And meditation exercises our minds. Clearly these discoveries have impacted my life deeply.

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