Potatoes can be a wonderful addition to any garden that you would like to plant. They store well, last a long time, and can be added to any type of meal you would like. However, they do take some time to grow and may not give the best yield each time. This is where the idea of a potato tower has grown in popularity.

Potato tower planting examples in a collage.A potato tower is a great way to grow more potatoes in a limited amount of space. Rather than growing right in the limited space of garden you have, you can work with hilling and let the potato plants grow up and up. Let’s take a closer look at how these potato towers work and then learn the best ways to plant with them so you can see how effective potato towers can be.

What are Potato Towers?

potato tower made of fence mesh, straws and soil with growing potato plants in the garden

Potato towers are a new way of planting that many gardeners enjoy because it allows them a chance to really get as many of the potato plants into one small area as possible. If you are limited on space, then one of these potato towers will be the best option for you. Basically, potato towers are considered an extreme form of hilling. They will rely on a structure that helps to add at least a foot of soil, though sometimes more, above the seed tuber.

While you may not have heard about a potato tower in the past, they are not a new idea. They have gained a lot of popularity in the past few years because they are efficient and do not take up much space.

Many people assume that potato towers are not going to work well. They assume that it is just a big hill of dirt and the potatoes are grown right on top of each other with no space in between. It is true, if you grow your potato tower to look like that, then it is unlikely you will be able to grow much at all, and your tower will not be successful.

However, the point of the potato tower is to make it easier to grow a bunch of potatoes. It is often going to have different layers that will all face out to the sun and get the nutrients that they need. The method we will look at in a big uses some wire fencing and dirt and straw to create layers where the potatoes can go. Each layer is like a miniature garden for the potatoes, each one going up a little bit higher than the other.

None of the potatoes on the bottom will get smooshed in or ruined in the process. And all of them will get exactly what they need. When they are growing big and getting ready to harvest, their stems and leaves will start to push out for you to see. Putting one of these towers together is simple and you will be amazed at how many potatoes you are able to get out of them in the process.

If towers aren’t your thing, you might consider this as a root vegetables to grow in containers.  Tons of easy ways to grow potatoes.  The potato tower is just one of many that create amazing harvests. 

How to Produce a Higher Hill

building a potato tower to plant potatoes in the garden

There are different ways to produce a higher hill around the potatoes that you have. We will look at some of the basics of planting later, but there are a lot of different choices that a gardener can make when they try to grow a bigger hill. For example, you can place some old tires around the plants and then add in the dirt to fill in the spaces. You may start with just one and then do a few more as you go.

It is also possible to just use a wire mesh to help form the cylinder that you need. If you have a little bit left and can stick it in the ground near the plant, then you are good to go. That design is going to help you to harvest the potatoes a little bit easier as well. You can get creative and see if there are a few other methods that help produce the hill you want.

You can choose how high you would like to make your potato tower. If you need to keep it small, that is just fine. The one we will make comes in at about four feet, which is the perfect height to do a lot of potatoes without having something towering over you. You can choose to make one that is a little taller or a little shorter if you would prefer.

How High Should the Tower Be?

You can technically choose how tall you would like the tower to be. Most towers will be between three to four feet tall, though just a foot about the tuber is plenty to call it a potato tower. The idea behind these is that the potatoes are going to form all along the stem as it grows up and up, filling the full height of your tower.

The main problem with this though is that many times a gardener is going to grow early and mid-season potatoes. These will only make potatoes at the ground level. You need to work with different types of potato plants to make sure they can grow in the tower and will give you higher production of the potatoes as well for all your work.

The Benefits of Potato Towers

short potato tower made of fence mesh, straws, and soil with growing potato plants in the garden

There are different benefits of using potato towers. Many of those who decide to work with these towers believe that they are the best way to grow more potatoes, even when you are limited on space. Since growing potatoes do take up a lot of room, and you may be limited on space, this can seem like a great idea.

Another benefit is that this adds some more protection to the potatoes. When they can spend more time in the ground, rather than being close to the surface, the potatoes will grow better than before. They are also less likely to be dug up over time, allowing them a chance to grow and get stronger in the process.
Some of the other benefits of using potato towers to help you grow your own potatoes include:

Space Saving

Potato towers save a lot of space. You can grow the same number of potatoes in a smaller area. You will find that working with these potato towers is a great way when it is done well, to get a lot of potatoes to grow in a small space.

Versatile

They can be made out of almost any material you would like. This makes them inexpensive and you can have some fun creating them. The method we will discuss below can get the potatoes grown in this method with a little wire fencing, a stable post, some dirt, and some straw!

Disease Resistance

The potatoes that are grown using the towers often have fewer diseases, which makes them a better choice. Since the potatoes are not all kept close together and are a little bit more off the ground, it is easier to grow them without having to worry about rot or scab or other diseases getting onto them.

Ease of Access

The potatoes from these towers are often easier to harvest. They are not as far down in the dirt as they would be if you had grown them the traditional way. This makes it easy to harvest when they are ready.

These are just a few of the benefits of working with a potato tower. It is simple to make and can easily fit in just a small area of your yard if you are limited in space. Think of how amazing potatoes will taste when you can make them using this method!

How to Plant a Potato Tower: Step by Step

planting potatoes in the potato tower in the garden

You will need a few materials to make this process a little bit easier. For the way we will make the potato tower, you will need about five feet of four-foot-high fencing wire. The hole size is not as important to use what you can find.

You will also need some tools that can be used to crimp and bend the wire along with some strong twine or extra wire to get this done. A fence post or another structure that is stable to put the wire to in the end is important and then one bale of straw can help here too.

When you have had some time to gather all of the necessary materials, it is time to get to work

    1. Take the fencing wire that you have chosen and create a circle of the wire. It should be close to two feet in diameter. This does not have to be perfect but try to stay close to this. You can then wire the ends together to make a secure circle when you are done.
    2. Push the straw against the outside wire. It needs to be a few inches thick, but allow the middle to be empty and hollow.
    3. Now you can layer the straw on the ground. This again needs to be at least a few inches thick in the process.
    4. Layer about six inches of dirt that has enough nutrients to help the potatoes. If the dirt is fine around the yard you can use this. If not, consider adding some high-quality potting soil.  You can also check out these organic fertilizers that might need to go into your soil.  Or consider amending your soil before using it in the garden.
    5. When the soil is ready, you can bury the cut potato sections into the soil. Then water the soil. It needs to be a little bit wet, but not so much that it gets saturated. Then add another half a foot of straw over the soil you just worked on. Repeat the steps above as necessary.
  1. Make sure that you secure the potato towers when you are done. The way they are right now, they may fall over if the ground is not level or if there are some strong winds. This is a good time to wire the towers over to that fence post we talked about before.

Caring for and Harvesting Your Potatoes

potato tower with growing potato plants with green healthy leaves in the garden

Over the summer, you can thoroughly water your towers – that’s pretty much all you need to do to care for your potatoes. You need to make sure to stick the nozzle through the sides to make sure the bottom is able to get some water, and not just all the top. You can also use a drip irrigation system if that’s easier.  There are tons of irrigation systems to use in the garden.  Pick the ones that work best for your garden.

You should not need to water the plants too often, especially if it is a rainy year. If you do too much water, then the potatoes are going to rot. Check the soil before watering. If it is still pretty damp, then your potatoes do not need more water.

As you see the summer start to go along, you will notice the tops of the potatoes will slowly make their way out of the side of the towers. This is good news. This is a sure sign that there are potatoes growing in your bottom layers. It will not take much longer for a bunch of green potato leaves to emerge all around the tower.

You will know it is time to harvest when the tops of the potatoes start to die off. You can choose the best way to harvest based on what works the best for you. You can either work from the top down and do one layer at a time. Or, if you do have a season where all the potatoes ripen at once, you can pull off the frame and sift the dirt to get all of the potatoes out.

Planting Your Own Potato Tower: So Many Benefits, So Do It Now!

It is possible to plant your own potato tower whenever you want. If you are thinking about enjoying some tasty potatoes at the end of the season, then it is worth your time to consider how to grow potatoes using this kind of tower method instead. The tower is simple to make, easy to put together, and will make your potato-growing more efficient.



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PAUL WALKER

PAUL WALKER

Editor of the online magazine The Detailed Edge.
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