I went to grab a few potatoes for Easter last Sunday and realized it must be time to plant – they’d all sprouted! I’d read about using stacks of old tires, but that wouldn’t exactly add to the French country villa look I’m trying for with my garden. Then, not one but two friends in one day suggested vertical plant towers.
The design is simple, take a 4’x4′ piece of coated wire (think chicken wire) and form it into a cylinder.
We chose to set ours into the already marked beds in our garden.
Then you need some potatoes, like mine, that are already growing.
Potato plants feed off the starches in the mature tuber. When cutting them, include big chunks to feed the young plant, and at least one eye. The cat is optional.
I found that five pounds, cut into big chunks, is enough for starting two potato towers.
Now for homemade manure, courtesy of my guinea pigs. Like rabbit droppings, their vegan diet and low nitrogen allows the manure to go right into the garden. It makes a great “base” for any long growing plant.
Next, press the straw against the sides of the tower, making a hollow in the middle. A little straw goes a long way.
Fill the center with manure, compost, good garden mix, whatever you have on hand. Press it into the sides well, filling the tower to about three inches deep.
Pour the potato chunks into the tower and spread out. You can be all OCD here, making sure the eyes point out. But they’ll grow that way, even if pointing wrong. Put a layer of soil over the top to cover and give them a good soak.
With God’s grace, and my watering, in a week or two I’ll see growth. Then I can add more layers!