The first thing to know about building a potato tower is that it requires lots of time and effort. You need to have the right tools, materials, and experience. Also, you will need some money for the necessary expenses such as seeds or fertilizer. Finally, you must be patient because potatoes take at least three years to grow into full size potatoes (or whatever type). So if you want your own potato tower soon then you are going to have to wait until all these things come together.
Building a Potato Tower: What To Expect
First off, you need to decide what kind of tower you want to make. There are two main types of towers; those made out of wood and those made out of concrete.
Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, concrete towers tend to last longer than wooden ones since they don’t require constant care and maintenance like wood ones do. Concrete towers also cost less because they’re cheaper to produce. However, concrete towers aren’t as sturdy as wood ones. They are not very strong either so they won’t stand up to any sort of weather conditions.
Another disadvantage of concrete towers is that they don’t hold their shape well when being moved around. If you want your tower to be stable and resistant to movement then you’ll need something else.
That’s why most people prefer using wooden towers over them. Wood towers don’t rust like metal ones do and they are lighter in weight too. This means you can move them around whenever you want.
If you want to make a wooden tower then you should use either pine or cedar wood. Both of these types of wood are very strong and hold up well against all types of weather conditions.
They also do not twist, warp, or rot over time so they make ideal materials for potato towers. However, you can only find these types of wood in specialty stores so they cost more. Many people use cheap pine wood because it is easy to find at your local supermarket.
At the bottom of your tower you want to place a large water tank. This will supply water to the potatoes when they need it.
Remember, potatoes need plenty of water to grow so make sure that the tank never runs out! The tank should also be big enough to supply enough water for the entire growing season. If you place the tank at the top of your tower then it will have a good, strong foundation to stand on. You might also want to put a couple of stabilizing legs under the bottom of your tower too. This is especially important if you live in an area with heavy winds or if you have children who like to climb on things. Make sure to use strong, sturdy wood so that doesn’t happen.
After you build the bottom section of your tower you can begin placing the wooden pallets on top of each other. Each pallet will need to have ten inches of space between each slat so that the potatoes have plenty of room to grow.
You also want to make sure that each layer is placed at a 90 degree angle relative to the layer below it. This is important for keeping the weight balanced. You can add another layer of pallets on top of the first one once you finish putting that first one together. Continue doing this until you reach the desired height.
Once your tower is finished you’ll need to make sure that it remains stable. This means placing strong beams of wood across the inside, across each layer of pallets.
These beams should run from one corner to the other and be placed at least four inches away from the sides. This will prevent the tower from falling over and keep it sturdy. Keep these beams away from the top of the tower though because you still need to place the lid on top of it.
If you want to add some extra protection to your tower then you can also make a protective fence around the bottom. This will keep small animals and insects from burrowing through the pallets and getting inside.
You can use the leftover wood to make the fence. Attach a piece on top of each pallet with a few nails. If you need to, use the stabilizing beams to attach the fence pieces to.
Finally, you need to put the cap on top of your tower. This will prevent debris from getting inside of it and blocking up the works.
You can simply place a piece of plywood over the opening then place heavy items on top of it to hold it in place. This is all you need to do to make your tower. Now you can begin growing potatoes!
How to grow potatoes in your tower:
You can plant as many or as few potatoes as you want in your tower. You just need to make sure that there is enough room for the potatoes to spread out.
Each potato needs at least four inches of space around it. You can either buy seed potatoes from a store or take some yourself from an existing potato plant. If you use seed potatoes you need to “chit” them first. This simply means you need to let them sit out in the sun for a couple of days to allow them to sprout. Then you need to place them in damp, dark place for about a week until they develop little “eyes” on them. It is these little eyes that will grow into stems and leaves after you plant them.
Plant each seed potato with the eye end up and the flat end no larger than a quarter. Each seed potato should be planted at least six inches away from the next one.
This will allow the potatoes to grow large and plump. You can use a garden hoe or pitchfork to gently stir the soil around each seed potato to make a small hole for it to sit in. Add some dirt on top and then spread out the excess soil and pat it down around the base of each seed potato.
You want to water your tower frequently, at least once every day. You can use a hose to add water to the tank on the bottom of the tower.
This will slowly seep through the wood and moisten the soil around the potatoes. You should only need to water it this way once every couple of days. Otherwise, if you water from the top by pouring water on it you may wash away some of the soil and your potatoes could fall down into the tower.
As the plant grows you will need to add more soil around the base of each plant. You want to leave about an inch or two between the soil level and the wooden pallets on the sides of the tower.
If the soil level gets too high then some of the potatoes may fall down into the tower which is something you want to avoid.
Your potatoes should begin to grow in about a month, however this will depend largely on the weather. You can begin to harvest the potatoes about three months after you plant.
You should be able to fill several grocery bags full with the amount of potatoes you will grow.
You can eat these right off the plant or you can leave them sit for a few days first. You can also store them in a dark, dry place (like a root cellar) so that you can eat them throughout the year.
Just remember, you will need to keep them away from any potential hibernating bears!
If you are confident that you will eat all of your potatoes then you can also replant the ones that you take out of the tower. Just make sure to leave them in the ground for at least a few days first so they begin to “cure”.
This will help prevent the plants from going into shock when you replant them.
You can use this same method with any type of vegetable seed, not just potatoes. You can grow just about anything in these towers.
Sources & references used in this article:
Local dispersal of overwintered Colorado potato beetle (Chrysomelidae: Coleoptera) determined by mark and recapture by PA Follett, WW Cantelo… – Environmental …, 1996 – academic.oup.com
Fall migratory flight initiation of the potato leafhopper, Empoasca fabae (Homoptera: Cicadellidae): observations in the lower atmosphere using remote piloted … by EJ Shields, AM Testa – Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 1999 – Elsevier
Italy and the Potato: A History, 1550-2000 by D Gentilcore – 2012 – books.google.com
Changes in sugar content and proteome of potato in response to cold and dehydration stress and their implications for cryopreservation by R Folgado, K Sergeant, J Renaut, R Swennen… – Journal of …, 2014 – Elsevier
Resistance potential of Colorado potato beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) to novaluron by GC Cutler, JH Tolman, CD Scott-Dupree… – Journal of Economic …, 2005 – academic.oup.com
The Colorado potato beetle in Canada by A Gibson, RP Gorham, HF Hudson, JA Flock – 1925 – atrium.lib.uoguelph.ca
Potato chip package vertical packaging machine by JA Goodman, FA Herdrich – US Patent 5,251,422, 1993 – Google Patents