Last year, I planted a 100′ row of potatoes only to have all my plants attacked by the vicious Colorado potato beetle. It was hard to watch, and as much as I tried to get rid of the beetles, I realized very quickly that I stand no chance against them (read: The Sorry Story of my Potatoes).
So this year, I decided to try something a bit different. I am going to try to grow my potatoes in towers. I’ve listed this option a few weeks ago in my post How to Grow Potatoes (wich includes all the information you’ll need if you are new to growing potatoes), and since I had all the materials to build the towers, I thought it will be fun to give it a try.
I made four towers so far (one after I took this picture), and I have to say, they were pretty easy to make ( I plan on making 3 more).
How to Build Potato Towers:
I had this rolled fence wire laying around, I think they call it rabbit fence. I used it to fence a section of my garden a while back because rabbits kept coming to eat my lettuce, but I cleaned that area and don’t plant there anymore so it was just laying behind the shed.
The fence is 4′ tall.
I took the non-scientific way, as usual… And counted 13 squares (I then measured it so I can give you the measurements and it is 50 inches, so 4′ or so, in case you use a different kind of wire).
I used cutters to cut the wire in the center of the 14th square.
Next, I joined the two ends of the piece I cut and secured them together by bending the end of the wire.
Here is a view from the top…
And here is the whole cage. Pretty simple!
I used 18” rebars to secure the cage in place.
I hammered the rebar about half way into my husband’s precious front lawn…
Peeesh… What’s stupid grass compared to round, smooth, earthy smelling potatoes?
He’ll get over it.
Then I placed the cage right next to the rebar…
And secured it with a piece of wire. You can do this with a cable tie too, but cable ties magically disappear around here (blame the same husband and his kids), so I used wire. Anyway, I don’t think the cage is going anywhere.
Next, I filled the bottom of the tower with hay and kind of pushed it up the sides a little bit, creating what looks like a really comfortable nest.
Here is another view.
Then, I filled the center of the nest with garden soil and compost, about 15” or so.
And now it’s time to plant potatoes!
I have a few that I saved from last year, so I didn’t have to buy seed potatoes this year.
I did, however, ended up saving them in the refrigerator because I couldn’t find a cool place for them and they started germinating too early, hopefully, it didn’t ruin them and they’ll still grow. We’ll see.
I planted a couple of potatoes in each tower, about 6” deep. Then I covered them back with soil and watered well.
The only thing left to do is keep the soil moist and wait for them to germinate. Once they start growing, I will keep adding soil and compost and hay around them until the tower is full.
I am very curious to see the results. If this works and I get a good amount of potatoes I might keep growing them this way. The cages are super easy to make, and during the hot summer, when I don’t use them for potatoes I am going to use them to support peppers.
The towers also save a lot of room because this way, we are growing the potatoes up. And you don’t need to till any soil or anything, just stick them on your front lawn and watch steam coming out of your husband’s ears.
OK, maybe you shouldn’t put them on your front lawn… Anyway, even if you do, he’ll forget and forgive when he eats the creamy potato au gratin you’ll make him 😉
For no front lawn and more potatoes…
P.S. – I’ll add more pictures to this post once the potatoes start growing.