Potato Towers

As you know from this post and this post, we’re trying our hand at a Square Foot Garden for the first time this year.  But oh no.  We couldn’t keep it that simple, could we?  No.  The Hubs wants potatoes, so The Hubs gets potatoes.  But until seeing an article in Sunset magazine I didn’t really know how to grow potatoes (or realize that they weren’t necessarily going to work in our teeny tiny 4×4 garden).  So the only choice we had was to go UP.  And by UP I mean vertical and these gorgeous potato towers:

Obviously neither of us has ever grown potatoes, so this seems no harder to us than just planting them in the ground.  Except we get the added bonus of some neat looking towers.

So last weekend we set out to build them.  First, we gathered our materials:

– 3 foot tall wire fencing (you can find this at every home improvement store)
– 6 ft tall reed fencing (you can find this in ONE home improvement store:  Lowe’s)
– Straw (again, only ONE gardening store had straw this time of year)
– Top soil
– Compost (left over from mixing our garden soil)
– Weed block (already owned)
– Potato starters

Next we constructed a 3 foot (18″ diameter) tower with the wire fencing by trimming the edges with wire cutters and then wrapping the loose wires around the other end (to form a circle).  Note to self:  don’t take pictures of gray fencing on grayish rocks.  My bad.

It's like the "where's waldo" of potato growing

Then we cut the reed fencing to-length so it would wrap snuggly around the wire tower. 

And secured it with zip ties.

See how easy potato-growing is so far?  The next step was to secure some weed block to the bottom of the towers.  We just pushed it in between the reed and the wire fencing because we were lazy it seemed to be snug enough. 

Then we were off to the backyard to find a home for these guys.  Note:  there were no potato towers in the Backyard Master Plan…so you can imagine this threw me for a loop.  But, I tried to be “chill’ and go-with-the-flow….and we decided to place them just south of the garden in an area that will eventually have a perimeter garden.  So….if we like the towers and decide to keep them, they’ll just sit within the perimeter area.  If we decide we hate growing potatoes then I’ll simply plant something else in their place.   Write it down folks….Janna made a decision.  

Unless these potatoes get completely out of control, we should still have plenty of space to move between the garden and the towers for harvesting. 

Now on to planting them spuds.

Like the article suggested, we first put a mixture of compost and top soil in the bottom of the towers, then placed our taters on top.  We decided on a red variety for one tower, and a basic russet for the other. 

What’s crazy about these towers is that’s all the dirt you put in it.  Yeah, you read that right.  From here-on-out we only put straw on top of the spuds.  So we put a shallow layer of straw on to keep them covered, and the idea is once you see sprouts poking through….add more straw so they’ve got something to grab onto. 

I know, I know.  I’m skeptical too.  But we’ll never know unless we try, right?  So as these suckers start growing (please, please, please) I’ll keep you posted.  And if they ever look as cool as that original picture, you know I’ll be having a hay day.  Yes, I did just say that.  What?

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7 comments

  1. Pretty cool. I love how it is decorative and serves a purpose! Now all you need is Grandma’s potatoe and pea soup. YUM!

  2. I love this- am really anxious to see how it turns out. As the daughter of a very successful gardener- this is so strange but interesting!

  3. Nice work making a decision on these cool towers! I’m excited to hear how it goes, this is a great addition to your master plan. :) Hubs should be happy, they are pretty and functional!

  4. So, how do you get the potatoes out?? I am going to try a method for potatoes I heard about which involves setting potatoes on the ground, putting hay (yes, hay, not straw) over the top of them, and keeping them watered. We have the luxury of a little more space than you to do something as haphazard at this. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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