Gardening in the city requires some ingenuity. Space is at a minimum. Potato Towers are easy to build garden beds that can house baking potatoes, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, or yams. The taller your potato tower is, the more tubers you can grow.
You can grow a smaller version of the potato tower on an apartment balcony or a patio using a large wash basin as your base. This keeps the soil and water that might escape the potato tower contained neatly.
This is also a good method for protecting your potato beds from pets who tend to dig things up. My chickens circle the potato tower looking for beetles but cannot get into the enclosure to do any damage. When my friends visit with their dogs, I have no concern for the sanctity of my protected spuds.
Gathering your finished potatoes is simply a matter of opening the side of the potato tower after your crops have stopped flowering and pulling out the harvest. No shovels required!
Tools for Building a Potato Tower
- Chicken wire or plastic chicken fencing -5 1/2 – 6 feet (1.5 m – 2 m) in length
- 4 or 5 fence posts or stakes at least 3 ft. (1 m) in length
- Garbage bag twist ties
- Dried compostables like leaves, coconut fiber, or straw
- Seed potatoes
Procedure for Building a Potato Tower
- Select a sunny area of level ground and clear out any invasive weeds.
- Coil the fencing in a circle until it has an 18 inch (45 cm) diameter.
- Secure the sides of the tower with the garbage bag twist ties.
- Position the circular fencing in an upright position in the cleared area.
- Pound the fence posts securely into the ground on the inside of the fencing circle. Securing your potato tower is vital. Even short towers end up being very heavy and leaning over.
- Line the inner circle of the potato tower with dried compostable items to keep the finished compost from falling out.
- Add a layer of compost inside the potato tower up to 1 foot (30 cm) in depth.
- Place no more than six seed potatoes on top of the compost layer 3 inches (8 cm) from the fencing. If you add more than six on this layer, they won’t have enough room to grow.
- Add more compost and potato layers repeating steps 6 and 7 until your potato tower is full.
- Water the potato tower.
Caring for Your Potato Tower
The compost in your tower will condense with time. It’s okay to add a little more compost to the top as the season progresses.
When your potatoes are ready for harvesting, just untwist the garbage bag ties and let the potatoes tumble out. If you’re lucky enough to have chickens, open the potato tower and let them dig out the spuds. Chickens won’t eat raw potatoes. Mine enjoy digging for bugs. They push the pesky taters aside in their hurry to get to creepy crawlies. At the end of the day, I get to gather up those spuds for dinner without even getting my hands dirty.