May 3, 2015: Make Potato towers

Today was another glorious day which makes me almost forgive nature for skipping spring as we’ve gone straight to summer. The beautiful weather makes me keen to get outdoors and get growing. I’ve never grown potatoes before, but know that growing them the traditional in-ground way uses up a lot of space and can be labourious to harvest.  The best option for me was to go vertical and make potato towers.

You will need:

chicken wire/wire mesh

straw

soil

seed potatoes

Originally I had wanted to buy chicken wire, but I didn’t go further than a big box store to look and couldn’t get any.  Instead I got this:

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In the end I was quite pleased with this choice because it was the perfect length which meant it required no cutting, and it came with extra wire for me to sew up the seams.  This job definitely requires gloves and ideally long pants and sleeves.  I didn’t have those because it was so hot so I got a few scratches.

After being so tightly wound for so long, it has a natural inclination to curl up so I had to step on the ends a bit to loosen it up. Next I formed it into a cylinder and stitched up the seam with the extra wire.  This took longer than I thought it would. An ant crawled into my pants and walked down my ass crack.  I waited for it to crawl out because I was afraid if I stood up it would get all up in my lady bits.

After standing up my tower, I made a small nest with straw.

An aside on straw, this is in fact different than hay. Hay is for animals to eat, straw is for animal bedding. All those times you thought you went on a hay ride as a kid?  LIES! You have never been on a hay ride, you have been on a straw ride. At this time of year, the only place to get straw is a farm supply/feed store.  It’s cheap, less than $7/bale but it will make a fucking mess of your car and you can’t drive with the windows down because: STRAWNADO!

The purpose of the straw is to keep the soil from falling out of the mesh holes, and to retain moisture. So here is the tower with the straw nest.

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Next step is to put down a thick layer of good soil.  Since this is my first time growing them I played it safe and bought seed potatoes, 2 x 2lb bags. With the eyes facing the straw, lay out some well spaced potatoes around the edges.

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That bit middle is sun, not a potato.  Based on the width of my tower, i did five potatoes on each layer.  Continue building up the straw and adding layers of potatoes.  All the bending and lifting was a great workout, I’m going to be sore as fuck tomorrow. Top of the tower with more straw and give it a very thorough soaking.  They will need to be placed in the sun and be kept moist.

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Soon all the green vines will come shooting out every which way.  To harvest, you just need to push those fuckers over and pull out all the potatoes. Each tower should yield approximately 60 lbs of potatoes and contains 80 L of soil so I’m probably going to have to  go all Hulk on them to get them to tip.

Hulk

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