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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- some potato sets
- soaker hose
- good dirt
- a tomato cage
- 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!
More from my site
- Cornish Cuties update: 8 weeks old and perhaps not so cute
- Welcome to the world, baby boy!
wow…well written and informative too…
Sreedev Soman @ KookyDom
That is so way cool. You heap the dirt on top of the green plants? I am so telling my dad about this! Thanks for sharing.
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!
Great tips (even though I’m not very keen on gardening) The leaves look really lush & healthy!
Thanks Sophie! So sweet of you to check in!
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!
Minette, you are too kind. Thank you!
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.
uh-oh. That’s where the soaker hose comes in handy, Gillie!
We are growing our potatoes in jute sacks. This idea is simply brilliant. Next year I am SO building a potato tower !
Jute sacks sounds like a great idea, too, Anita-Clare.
I’ve always wanted to try this. It requires a bit of organization though.
Just a little, Francene!
We plant ours in old tires for the same effect. You can just keep stacking them up. It’s super easy!
That’s a neat idea, Ramona, and there is surely a steady supply of old tires!
Clever, cool, efficient… the list goes on. Not to mention saves some of the “back-breaking” from the labor end of it all….
Thanks so much, Alessa, I’ll pass that on to my dad!