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TIPS: Building potato towers in your own backyard

 Two completed potato towers.
Two completed potato towers. (KTUU)
Published: May. 24, 2020 at 7:48 PM AKDT
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Traditional ways to grow potatoes involve mounds of dirt with potatoes buried inside. If you don’t have space or a garden, you can build potato towers. Towers don’t provide the yield you can get from mounded potato growing but harvesting the potatoes at the end of the season is easy and fun, and you’re unlikely to miss any hiding in the soil.

To build potato towers, use fencing with fairly small spaces.

  • Turn the fencing into a tube by wrapping the sides together with twist-ties.
  • Put down a layer of weed shield to keep grass and weeds out of the tower.
  • Put straw down. The goal is to separate layers from each other but also to protect the growing potatoes from the sun.
  • Add a layer of soil, deep enough for the potatoes to have space to grown. I usually add several inches of soil.
  • Place the 2-3 potatoes in each layer, putting the sprouted eye toward the soil.
  • Add another layer of straw, soil, potatoes. Layer until about 2/3 of the fencing is filled.
  • Water all the sides of the towers. Plants will grow out the sides through summer.

At the end of summer, when you’re ready to harvest your potatoes, untie or clip the connections along the fencing seam and push the tower over. Dig through the dirt and harvest your potatoes.

A word about seed potatoes…it’s best to buy certified seed potatoes. Potatoes purchased in the grocery store are typically sprayed with something to keep them from sprouting and they could introduce diseases into your soil.

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