Last month I built my first potato tower, filled it with 6″ of compost, and planted it with a variety of spuds. Now 4 weeks in, 2 of the plants are up and running, and the other 6 are finally breaking ground.
Unfortunately, due to my dog digging through the tower after I planted it, I cannot say for certain which plants are doing better, but I would guess its the earlies (Yukon and Kennebec). I have done one small “hilling” when I added an inch of worm castings a week ago. Yesterday I added about 3″ of soil to cover the two more vigorous plants and next weekend will add the next row of side boards and fill it with another rich soil mix (1:1:1 compost, soil, worm castings).
I am considering building an 8′ version of this to push the productivity of the backyard a bit – we do have some unused space along a fence line or two.I still have 150#’s of spuds to get in at the market farm (another 50#’s going in today) so seed is not a problem. Even if I only net 15:1 pounds in harvest, it will be worth it to be able to condense the plantings to this degree. The 8 pieces in this tower would have taken over 20 sq feet of space, so from a harvest per sq foot perspective I am already at a 500% improvement even if I only get 8 lbs of spuds, as I a only using 4 square feet in the tower. For sub acre agriculture, where success is measured more in harvest per foot, this is huge.
All in all its a fun expirement for the summer!