Living with a small garden or balcony doesn’t mean having to do with potatoes, when you use this guide to build a potato tower for small spaces.
Growing potatoes yourself is actually quite easy for even a beginner gardener. Even in an apartment they can be cultivated and harvested when the potatoes are planted in a bucket. But for a stock that provides several family meals, this method is of course not sufficient.
You don’t need a field for a larger potato harvest, because even in a small garden or even on the terrace or balcony you can set up a space-saving potato tower. As a variant of vertical gardening — which Architectural Digest outlines is good for our health — it yields more yield on a small area. In addition, you can usually build it yourself even at no major cost.
Build a potato tower for small spaces: materials
For the construction of a potato tower you need the following materials, of which there may be leftovers in the shed or cellar anyway:
- 1 piece wire mesh, approx. 1 m high and 2 m wide(fine-mesh rabbit wire or a coarse-mesh edge mat)
- 2 planting rods or wooden slats, about 10-20 cm longer than the wire mesh is high
- Wire or a packet of non-rotting cord
- 2-3 kg straw
- Compost soil or a mixture of soil and composting matter
- horse or small animal manure
- germinated potatoes or special seed potatoes
Wire mesh is occasionally left over when building a house or when a small animal barn was built. If you don’t have a suitable wire mesh at hand, it’s worth relying on the help of neighbors who may have leftovers in the shed. Otherwise it is also available in the hardware store. With pet owners, you may also be able to get straw. You can mix already used rodent litter or horse manure under the soil surface.
Build a potato tower for small spaces: instructions
- 1. Attach the rods or slats to the ends of the wire mesh so that the wood points outwards and both rods survive at the same end.
- 2. Form the wire mesh into a roll so that the rods collide flush together, and preferably tie up, in the middle and down with wire or cord.
- 3. Choose a sunny to semi-shady location for the tower, because it can no longer be moved after filling. If you place it on the lawn or a bed, the protruding rods can be drilled into the ground for greater stability. On hard ground, simply turn the tower over so that the ends point upwards.
- 4. Line the potato tower from the inside about 15 centimetres high with a layer of straw. It prevents the earth from falling through the grid, and at the same time serves as a mulchmaterial. If the tower is located on a non-water permeable floor, the floor is also covered with a layer of straw, so that excess water can drain well. Fill with compost soil or earth mixture.
- 5. Lay the potatoes along the edge with the shoots outwards and at a distance of about 20 centimetres from each other.
- 6. Form a new straw edge of 15 centimetres in height and refill with soil. Lay out a second layer of potatoes.
- 7. Fill the tower in this way to just below the top edge. Make sure that the wire shape does not detract, but remains evenly round and retains ground contact everywhere.
The last potatoes can be spread over the whole area. Cover with another layer of soil and finally spread some straw on top of it. I have often planted the surface with sweet potatoes, which both gives a second crop, and also provides shade to the top level of the tower, preventing it from drying out.
Gerhardt Richter is a writer and a trainer at trade technical colleges, specializing in carpentry, plumbing and construction.