Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

Going Vertical With Potatoes

It’s another experiment! Two years ago we grew potatoes in our community garden plot, planting in rows we mounded up- we were fairly successful. Last year we got a late start, so the harvest from our potato bed was pretty underwhelming. This year, we’re trying out the potato tower method. Potato towers are supposed to maximize your planting space by going vertical. Our research isn’t conclusive on how successful these are, with some people raving about their harvests but others claiming little growth.

We decided to build our tower out of a roll of wire we had, making a cylinder about 4 feet tall with about a 3 1/2 foot diameter. We stuffed straw down the sides to prevent the soil from falling out.

With the straw barrier in place, we loaded the tower with dirt and compost, mounding up about a foot and a half before we dropped in about a pound of our seed potatoes (from Grand Teton Organic Seed Potatoes). We read that late season potatoes perform best in towers, so we chose the Yellow Finn variety.

We chose to build up the mound a bit before planting so potatoes will have room to sprout downwards and in all directions.

As the sprouts grow, we’ll add more layers of dirt, compost, and straw. Ideally, this will  encourage the sprouts to continue growing and provide more room for tubers to form. We may even have to build the tower higher! We’re hoping to exceed the standard of 1o pounds of potatoes from every 1 pound of seed potato.

We do have another pound of seed potatoes to plant- time to decide if we’re building another tower or maybe trying the traditional mounded rows. 

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One response to “Going Vertical With Potatoes

  1. Sharon April 4, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Cool! I’ve never seen this potato-growing method before! Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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