Maximizing space and minimizing resources are key concepts to survival gardening, and making a potato tower will help you to achieve both goals. Not only is more resource-friendly, but they are easier to grow and maintain than preparing soil and tending to the land. Best of all, it frees up valuable space that can be used for other crops. All you need is a few items to create this fantastic system, and you can get it up and running in less than an hour.
The first step is to take some chicken or fence wire and create a cylinder that is at least a foot in diameter and three feet high. You can make it longer and wider based on your needs, but anything shorter will limit your productivity and crop yield. Twist the ends of each piece with the wire to secure the seam, or add some ties as an alternative. It should be secure, but doesn’t need to be perfect.
Next, add a bed of hay that’s at least an inch thick along the bottom of the cylinder. Then, place a shovel full of loose soil on top. Lay about eight potatoes in a circular fashion around the outer perimeter of the circle, an inch from the mesh. Water thoroughly until the soil is visibly soaked. Add another layer of hay and then dirt. Water and repeat until you have reached the top of the cylinder.
You can either use whole potatoes that are just showing signs of spuds on them, or you can cut them into smaller pieces. There are differing opinions out there as to which option is better than the other, but you can try both out for yourself and see what works best. The good thing about cutting potatoes is that you can get more into a container as opposed to using whole ones. Make sure to plant the cut pieces with 24 hours to get the best results.
If you cut potatoes, it is important that you plant pieces that have at least two budding spuds on them. Cut out about an inch around and below the spuds in each piece and place spud-side up. If you are using whole potatoes, it doesn’t matter how you plant them as long as there are green and budding spuds on them beforehand. You can also purchase and use seed potatoes that may produce better yields than ones from the sack bought from the store, but either option will do the trick.
Now, simply wait for the potatoes to grow and then harvest them by knocking over the container and breaking up the dirt. Nothing could be easier. No digging, no struggling and no messy hands. You can recycle the material and use again as well. The overall yield will vary based on how many potatoes you planted as well as their type, but you should expect to get at least 20 to 30 pounds out of each cylinder. Just make sure that you are continually keeping your potato tower moist and out of hot, intense sunlight and you will be able to harvest within a couple of months.