Potato Towers

Today the weather decided to cooperate with my day off, and I was able to spend some time gardening.  A few days of 70 degree weather has me feeling like I’ve awaken from a long deep sleep. I don’t know if I can remember the arrival of spring making me feel as relieved as it has this year.  My case of the blues seems to have passed with the arrival of the sun and warmer temperatures.

I’m a recent convert to Pinterest, where I found this idea for potato towers.  In the past, I’ve chosen not to grow potatoes because of the space they require, and bought them from my neighboring organic farmer.  It’s true I have lots of space on the farm, but I have huge time constraints. Conventional gardening requires more weeding than I have time for, so I garden vertically and in raised beds….. small space, high yield, and virtually no weeding.  Given the way I like to garden, it’s easy to see why I was attracted to this method of growing potatoes.

I had everything on hand to complete this project, and didn’t need to spend one single penny. The last time I brought potatoes up from the well pit, I brought a few more than I should have.  Thanks to warmer temperatures I ended up with perfect organic seed potatoes that were beginning to sprout.  I also scrounged a roll of rusty fencing from a junky corner behind our barn where my husband likes to stash materials of that sort.

Armed with my rusty fencing, a small roll of flexible wire, and wire cutters, I cut the fencing and wired it up.

I have a utility area near some of my raised beds where I maintain a pile of compost used to amend my soil. Since I do make the effort to keep this area weeded, I thought it would be the perfect location for my potatoes.

I formed a straw “nest” in the bottom of the fencing and filled it with compost for the first layer of potatoes.

I placed the potatoes around the outside edge of the tower, sprout side outward.  I covered the potatoes with several inches of compost, adding more straw around the outside as needed.

I continued with additional layers until I reached the top. I ended up with 4 layers, the top layer about 6 inches below the top of the fence line. I didn’t water the tower yet, because rain is predicted for tonight.  If we don’t get the rain, then I’ll water it tomorrow.  Yes, I know my tower is leaning in this picture, although it looks worse in the picture than in reality.  I fixed it later by driving a couple of hefty stakes into the ground around the outside to provide some stability.  I’ll try to remember to take pictures throughout the growing season, and give a couple of progress reports.


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