Building a Potato Tower

Ever wanted to get the most out of your potatoes, but the space to grow them was limited?  While our garden space has almost doubled, I still find myself wishing I had more area to grow in, and so I decided to try building potato towers this year.

Potatoes sprouting out of traditional compost.
Potatoes sprouting out of traditional compost.

There are a few different styles of potato tower out there, but I went with a chicken wire frame with straw inside.  It was very easy to set up, and thus far the potatoes seem to be flourishing.  Since the normal “trench” method of growing potatoes is a particularly spacious proposition, this experiment is ending up saving an abundance of room for more tomatoes, eggplants, carrots, and all the other goodies of the vegetable garden.

Spuds placed in the compost, ready to be framed.
Spuds placed in the compost, ready to be framed.

First, I scraped away some of the soil in a circle and put a few scoops of fresh compost down.  I didn’t really dig down, just cleared off an inch or two so I knew where I was working.  Next, I nestled the potato spuds in the compost and encircled them with a wire frame.  I used garden wire, with 3 x 2″ holes, four feet tall.  I cut it to the size I wanted my circle to be, and then used the ends to hook it on itself.  I also buried the bottom two squares or so of the wire in the dirt so that it would be sure to hold.

Frame the spuds with a wire tower and straw, and cover with compost.
Frame the spuds with a wire tower and straw, and cover with compost.
A side view of the tower, just planted.
A side view of the tower, just planted.

Next I framed the dirt with straw and lightly covered the top of the dirt with straw as well.  Within a week, little potato sprouts were coming up through the straw.  The next step was to cover the little sprouts with a light shovel full of dirt and compost, and a solid layer of straw.  I plan to continue this process all through the summer, until they reach the top of the wire frames.  At that point, in theory, the whole tower is full of potatoes and you’ve basically grown your row of potatoes vertically instead of horizontally.

One week later, sprouts through the straw.
One week later, sprouts through the straw.

By the end of summer you should have an abundance of potatoes as well plenty of room for all of your other harvests.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s