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Potato towers?

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Potato towers?

Post  milaneyjane on 5/4/2010, 10:47 pm

Just wondering if anyone does separate potato towers that you build higher as the summer goes. Any certain height where it doesn't pay to go taller? I just built a 3x3 tower tonight and have one more to do tomorrow. I can go as tall as 3 feet, LOL! If nothing else I thought it would be fun for the kids to try.

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  miinva on 5/4/2010, 11:04 pm

My husband's father used to grow potatoes in garbage cans! He wants to try a potato tower too, but he can't figure out which one to try, so I'd love to know if it's worked for anyone.

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  chocolatepop on 5/4/2010, 11:17 pm

I have a separate box as well as a trash can. i will have another couple boxes and trash cans when i get time off and get my taters in the mail.

my box is 3x3x3

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  boffer on 5/4/2010, 11:44 pm

@milaneyjane wrote:Just wondering if anyone does separate potato towers that you build higher as the summer goes. Any certain height where it doesn't pay to go taller?
I suppose you could go as high as you wanted, but at some point, you'll run out of growing season! I do a garbage can or stackable box every year just for fun. For me, the fun part is putting down a tarp, to save the soil mix, and then dumping the can over. It can be like opening a Christmas present-I never know what I'll get!

I've gotten as many as 70 taters out of a garbage can, and as few as 12. I can't explain the difference. The years that I got a low yield, I still got good results from my plants in the ground. Several weeks ago, in a forum thread, there was mention that some varieties of potatoes do better in high rises than others. I meant to look into that idea farther, but forgot about it till now.

The high rise concept definitely works. The advantage of stackable boxes is that you can pull a board off near the ground to steal some new potatoes, instead of needing to wait till harvest time for a garbage can.

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  milaneyjane on 5/5/2010, 1:53 am

The early potatos are the ones that don't do well in a tower. But the late season ones are supposed to work. I bought a mid season and a late so we will see what happens.

Do you use Mels Mix or more compost????

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  boffer on 5/5/2010, 2:08 am

I've used both-whatever was handy at the time. I don't have a preference to recommend. This year, for the first time, I'm trying straw.

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  dmpower on 5/5/2010, 4:48 am

I have 2 boxes for my potatoes, each 2'x2'x6" to start. I have also
built several other 2'x2' squares and will add them to my tower as the
taters start to grow up and through the straw. Depending on the variety
of potato I will end up with towers of different heights at the end of
the season.

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  bullfrogbabe on 5/5/2010, 9:17 pm

I'm having difficultly visualizing what potato towers look like. Does anyone have a picture to post?

I like to give potatoes a try but I'm not sure what to do to accommodate the deeper depths they need.

Thank you for starting a great discussion topic!

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  boffer on 5/5/2010, 9:52 pm

@bullfrogbabe wrote:I'm having difficultly visualizing what potato towers look like. Does anyone have a picture to post?

Sorry, no pics, but try this: think of small sfg boxes, 2x2 feet, made of either 2x4s or 2x6s, stacked on top of each other.

Put one box on the ground, fill with Mel's mix, plant seed potatoes. When the plants are 4-6 inches tall, add a second box, add mix, compost, or straw to cover the plants, leaving an inch or so of the plant top showing. Keep repeating.

I've gone 5 boxes high, made of 2x6s. Each layer you add causes the plant to make potatoes in that area-but don't ask me why! They just do!

I also add two 2x2 inch vertical boards in diagonally opposing corners to help keep the boxes in line.

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  dmpower on 5/5/2010, 10:59 pm

Thanks for the idea of the vertical boards. I can see the tower taking a big hit from the kids and the dog. Great addition. I will be taking photos in a couple of days - I will try to post them

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  miinva on 5/5/2010, 11:55 pm

Boffer, what kind of potatoes do you grow?

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  boffer on 5/6/2010, 12:16 am

This is the best pic of a box tower I could find; it's to the left of the sink.



This is my trusty, rusty galvy garbage can.



We grow Yellow Finns every year for certain. One year we did a side-by-side comparison with Yukon Golds, and the Finns won by a landslide. We ususally grow kennebicks and russets too. This year we bought some heirloom seed potatoes that we hadn't heard of. The only one I can think of at the moment is German butterball. I've got 38 squares planted, plus 28 plants in a raised bed. That should last us through winter!

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  Theresa on 5/6/2010, 12:16 am

We use Mel's high rise method for our potatoes, the high rise box is made from 1x4s and we add two of them.
In this picture we have just added the first high rise


and we now have the second high rise added

I now have filled the high rise with more of Mel's mix. We have 3 different kinds planted.

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  miinva on 5/6/2010, 12:26 am

You guys are making me want to grow potatoes! Very Happy My husband wants to grow sweet potatoes, though.

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Here are a few pictures

Post  milaneyjane on 5/6/2010, 11:10 pm

I will post mine later. The basic construction is a box with four long posts. As the potatos grow, you add another board on each side and more dirt. When you are all done you unscrew the boards (you can reuse the tower), but a tarp in front of the box to catch the dirt, and get yer 'taters!

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.gardenhelp.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/2009_03_potato_tower1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.gardenhelp.org/edible-gardens/growing-potatoes-in-small-spaces-successfully/&h=320&w=240&sz=45&tbnid=ORctWEEAGtlOlM:&tbnh=118&tbnw=89&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dpotato%2Btower&usg=__EL3SThd7ph01eiZzMzqYVp1vE7E=&ei=RYPjS9-iGYH_8AbjnuU9&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=7&ct=image&ved=0CC4Q9QEwBg

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  Megan on 6/11/2010, 9:29 pm

I have a question about potato boxes. My potatoes are in a high-rise and currently the total soil depth is about 14-15".

I wanted to do another riser (yes, I am greedy!) and hubby was against the idea until now. Well, now the potato plants are about 18-25" tall, very bushy and starting to set flower buds. The stems are impressively thick.

Will putting another 6" tall box on top of the existing ones and filling it up with straw/mix be too much of a shock now, considering the plants are starting to bloom? Would it hurt the plants? And, if it wouldn't hurt the plants.... could I get away with an 8" or 10" additional riser instead??

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go for it

Post  SirTravers on 6/11/2010, 10:17 pm

Go ahead. Just make sure to snip off all the flower buds. That will tell the plants to put out more tubers. When the plants die back at the end of the season you can unstack the risers, pull off the mix, and harvest your spuds.

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  Megan on 6/11/2010, 10:27 pm

Thank you!! My taters are Kennebecs which are apparently late potatoes, so I am hoping to get the most out of them that I can.

Megan, who just bought more plants and extensions for her irrigation system... it's playtime tomorrow!

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  Colin.B on 6/12/2010, 11:07 am

I have a question regarding potatoes , ive heard that you can plant them in straight compost .If this is right then once you,ve pulled said potatoes can you re-use the compost in your mels mix or would it be better thrown on the compost .

I only ask because i plan using something that rises as the potatoes grow and has a little opening at the bottom when it gets to a cetain height which allows you to continually pick as the plant grows ,but once its done i dont want to throw away stuff if i can re-use it

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  camprn on 6/12/2010, 11:18 am

I am growing my potatoes in burlap coffee bean bags and I am using my own freshly done compost mixed with shredded leaves with a bit of soil sprinkled in, this is all I have currently on hand. I plan on reusing everything that I put in those sacks.

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  Aussie Girl on 6/16/2010, 8:06 pm

This may seem silly - do you think I could make a potato tower out of tryes?

If I stacked 2 on top of each other to start with and then add as I need to?

I never thought I'd be able to grow spuds but after reading this thread a brainwave hit me, I have access to heaps of old tyres if I want.

What do you think?

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  Wyldflower on 6/16/2010, 8:13 pm

Hi Aussie Girl

There was some discussion about this a couple of months ago... check This Thread about Tires and Potatoes
Let us know how it works for you!

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  Aussie Girl on 6/16/2010, 8:34 pm

Thanks Wyldflower.

I had a read & googled it also, and while there are a few warnings of possible dangers, people have been doing it for ages apparently (so much for my brainwave) and there doesn't seem to be any real evidence of poisioning etc.

I think I'll give it a go!

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  Shoda on 6/16/2010, 8:52 pm

Oh no... there are early, mid and late potatoes? I don't know which ones I planted. I thought the red potatoes were just late potatoes harvested early. The ones I planted said "red" and harvest in late summer (August, I think). But doesn't that depend on when you plant them. How will I really know what I planted.

And now my son, Evan, wants blue or purple potatoes. We have an old plastic garbage can we could use and now have a link to get potato starts if I can't get them locally. Is it too late to plant?

Also, Aussie Girl.... I am not sure about planting them in winter in zone 10. I think they get "yucky" if they freeze. Anyone with advice for our winter friend?

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Re: Potato towers?

Post  Megan on 6/16/2010, 9:10 pm

@Shoda wrote:Oh no... there are early, mid and late potatoes? I don't know which ones I planted. I thought the red potatoes were just late potatoes harvested early. The ones I planted said "red" and harvest in late summer (August, I think). But doesn't that depend on when you plant them. How will I really know what I planted.

No, red potatoes are a completely different variety, they are a waxy potato.

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