HOW to grow potatoes in a tower–and why you should do it!

My dad is forever raising the bar, garden-wise (well, many other wise-es, too). This year he decided to experiment with a new way to grow potatoes:  vertically.  Take a look.  I have a feeling that once you’ve seen this, you’ll never be satisfied by the traditionally-planted potatoes ever again.  I must confess that I’m not. (Thanks a lot, Dad.)

First, here’s an average amount of lovely red potatoes dug up from one traditionally-planted (that is, the seed potato is planted in a furrow, and then the earth is heaped up around it, and then it is mulched heavily, prayers are said, celebratory dances are done, etc.) potato plant.  My folks have taken potato-planting very seriously this year, planting them three different ways.

How to plant potatoes in a tower

Here’s Dad’s experiment:  several seed potatoes are planted in the earth, and then a tomato cage (you can see how to make these for yourself in this post) is installed reverently on top of them, prayers are said, dancing done etc.  Patience is employed.  See what happens next.

how to plant potatoes in a vertical manner

These potato plants look very content, indeed.  Now as you probably know, if you plant potatoes in your garden, Irish potato plants grow the potatoes on their roots, so the deeper you plant them, in general, the more roots they go (theoretically) and the more potatoes you get.

potato-plant-diagram

How to grow potatoes

So as the potato plants grew, Dad added a ring of cardboard to the tomato cage, and a couple scoops of good dirt.  The plants kept growing. He also stuck a soaker hose down through the cage to keep the whole thing well watered.  There was very little need to pull weeds, which is a plus.  I took a picture the other day, and this is what it looks like now, after a couple of months’ worth of growth.

How to plant a potato tower

Isn’t it amazing?  Of course Dad hasn’t harvested the tower yet, so we’ll have to be a bit patient to see what’s inside.  You, Gentle Reader, will have to check back here to see the treasure that (I suspect) is growing inside this Leaning Tower of Potato.

And next year, if you decide that you want to grow potatoes vertically, this is all you need:

  1. some potato sets
  2. soaker hose
  3. good dirt
  4. a tomato cage
  5. this informative post (pin it or something, why don’t you, and share it with all your potato-loving friends!)

I’m participating in the fun event that the Prairie Homestead puts on every Monday:  the Homestead Barn Hop! So if you’d like, hop on over there and enjoy some more homesteading-related posts.  You’ll have a whale of a good time, and you’ll learn something very cool, I promise!

Barn-Hop

 

 

17 thoughts on “HOW to grow potatoes in a tower–and why you should do it!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Esther,
      Yes (I guess I left that detail out) you heap dirt on top of the leaves, leaving just a bit of them showing. Share away!

  1. Minette

    Amy, this is brilliant, especially for people who don’t have large gardening spaces. I will have to see if I can grow potatoes where we are in Cali. I am definitely going to share this with my Daddy, too. He is an avid gardener living in the Texas Hillcountry. Always love your great photos and your adventures!

  2. Gillie

    We’ve grown potatoes this way in sacks but never quite as tall as your Dad! The only problem we found was remembering to water them, we lost two sacks last year to dehydration.

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