Friday, July 6, 2012

Potato Tower

So while sitting at home one day enjoy some mashed potatoes it hit me. I do not have any potatoes in my garden this year. I usually devote a space to them because they are a good stable crop to have.  And grow very easily. I had pretty much used up all my space to tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, egg plants and a lot of other fruits and vegetables. So I then decided to see if I could grow them in a bucket. I googled different ways to grow  potatoes. 
And the answer I came across  is the potato tower. Here's how it works: The plant grows and its stem lengthens, as do the underground stolons from which the tubers grow. Give the stem more height to grow and it will, increasing the space for stolons and thus tubers. 
First, dig a nice, deep hole about three feet by three feet. Add some compost and turn the soil until loose. Add peat, blood meal and bone meal. Heap the soil high in the middle and then make it as level as possible as far out to the edge of the mound as you can make it. My hole was about two feet deep with the mound coming out of it about a foot and a half.
Second, the seed potatoes should be purchased from a grower not the grocery. Or you can use seed potatoes from your own stock. I went with some Eastern gold seed potatoes. Cut the seed potatoes into squares around the eyes of the potatoes. Make sure that you cut back about two inches from the eye to ensure some strong growth once planted.
Third, make some depressions in your soil and add your seed potatoes. Make sure to cover the seed potatoes entirely with soil. Three inches or so should do it. Fourth, get some long furring strips (1 x 2). Six feet should do it. Sharpen the ends and drive these into the earth surrounding your potato mound. Place them fairly square or at least at equal intervals from each other. This is important because depending on what medium you use to enclose the potato tower it will need equal support once it gets up high.
Fifth, if you went with a circle design you should have six long lengths of furring strip sticking out of the ground. If you went with the square you should have about four. Depending on what you use to enclose the tower the support structure will have to change.
Sixth, I am using heavy gauge cardboard from Costco. I am using it because it is plentiful in my home, good for the soil and free! To support this simply use twine to go around your stakes in the ground connecting them all fairly tightly together. Make a nice few runs around the tower. I used a dozen circuits and spaced them three inches from each other. Cut and tuck the cardboard in a weaving pattern through the twine. You should have a rough looking cardboard tower once done.
Seventh, once you have watered the seed potatoes you should have some sprouts in a couple of weeks. Let these sprouts grow to a height of eight inches. Once they have reached the desired height cover them with straw. Lightly go around and weave the straw in at first then barely cover the plants with it. Be careful not to hurt the plants. You should still see the green of the sprouts and they should not be weighed down.
Eighth, Wait a week and the sprouts should be up another eight inches or so. Add more straw and tuck more cardboard into the twine raising the tower up in height. Repeat these steps until you have a tower about four or five feet in height. Water the straw lightly everyday. It should not be dry but not soaking either. Around late summer you should be able to reach in and pull out some fresh, unseasoned potatoes depending on growing season.
Here is a method that uses chicken wire and newspaper. But the concept is the same. Also is you like our blog please click on some ads for us it helps us out a lot. Also listen to our shows we talk about a lot of stuff live. And we will have another one soon.  And don't forget to like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. 

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