Leaning Tower of Potatoes

English: Different potato varieties. – The pot...
English: Different potato varieties. – The potato is the vegetable of choice in the United States. On average, Americans devour about 65 kg of them per year. New potato releases by ARS scientists give us even more choices of potatoes to eat. Deutsch: Verschiedene Kartoffelsorten (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love different types and colors of potatoes and am always ready to try purple or even more exotic colors.  The different hues can be expensive at farmers markets and grocery stores, so I try to grow them but have always been discouraged about how much room the plants consume as well as the labor of digging them up.

So, trolling through Pinterest one day, I noticed a nifty idea of growing potatoes in a very small space.  Build up!! this is actually a very efficient use of space in a vegetable garden.

Potato Tower
Potato Tower

First I found my seed potatoes at a nursery and cut them up into chunks. I couldn’t find any exotic ones at the nursery so bought some purple ones at the grocery store and used them just like the nursery ones. Each chunk should have at least one “eye” on it.  Leaving the potatoes out for a day or so helps with the sprouting so I left them alone while I assembled my hardware.

Cut up seed potatoes
Cut up seed potatoes

You will need a short length of 4′ high fencing, rusty or otherwise, plus some zip ties to hold it together.  One bale of straw, granular fertilizer, and topsoil completes your ingredients.

My tower was about 3 feet in diameter and I just layered 6 inches of topsoil with a thick layer of fresh straw. On each layer, I placed my potato chunks on the edge of the tower facing out. I scattered liberal amounts of fertilizer on each layer. I did about 4 layers of my potato “cake”.

It took a couple of weeks for the potatoes to sprout but now I have a leaning tower of potato plants. The tower settled and shifted slightly but it seems pretty stable. It must weigh a ton!

When the plants die back in the fall, I should be able to unhook the wire fencing and the potatoes will fall out. I hope! I will post the results in the fall.

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Roll wire fencing into a tube 3′ in diameter
Place the potato chunks on the outside edge facing out
Place the potato chunks on the outside edge facing out

If the tower seems to be too much work, read this blog about growing potatoes in buckets, http://www.housekeeping.org/blog/20-diy-blogs-show-you-how-to-plant-potatoes-in-a-bucket/

There are more ways to skin a cat!

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2 Replies to “Leaning Tower of Potatoes”

  1. I kind of did this by accident in one of my compost bins, which is in a cylinder of chicken wire. Several times I’ve found that pieces of raw potato that we had dumped there had sprouted and the plant was coming up through the unfinished compost.

  2. I have had all kinds of things coming up in my compost. Sometimes the seeds you plant don’t grow but the discarded ones in the rotting veggies and compost come up without any help.

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