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Author Topic: 'Tater Towers...  (Read 174 times)

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Offline ND Martin

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'Tater Towers...
« on: February 19, 2013, 11:40:16 AM »
Inspired by Langenator's experiments with buckets o' spuds, I hit the green side of the web and found this technique that I plan to try this year.  Full details can be found at the excellent Resilient Communities site, and the simplicity of the process is compelling.  Instead of the traditional 'hilling' of soil on the potato shoots as they emerge, the seed potatoes are surrounded by a wire cage and the shoots are covered.  Straw is used to hold the soil in the cage.   The key to towering potatoes is a combination of the following:

  • High quality seed potatoes and good soil (don’t scrimp). 
  • Very rapid covering.  Cover the shoot before it leafs out and becomes a shaw (the tower should make this easier to do).  I suspect that all you will need is two feet of covering soil at most.  The idea is that once it coverts to leaf, it doesn’t fully convert back, sapping the plant of energy.
  • Turn a root from each seed potato into a “shaw” (leafy shoot) as soon as possible.  Essentially, guide the root to an opening on the side of the container and let it grow outwards.  If you don’t do this, the plant will not get enough energy to yield.

Without getting too technical, a potato tower that is working correctly will be covered in green, from base to top.   If you only see green at the top, you’re going to get a poor harvest.



I see no reason that this cannot be adapted to using buckets  topped with the cages; and further adapted by the automatic watering technique I posted earlier.

Offline Amisheggpicker

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Re: 'Tater Towers...
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 08:09:36 AM »
somewhere on this site is a post about planting them in garbage bags...this is what we do...and it works with the same principle.  You just pull the bag up as the potatoes grow and add more soil/straw ect...this is also how we make new raised beds....during the growing season, we will surround the row of bags with cement blocks and then when the potatoes need harvested, we slit the bags, take out the potatoes and the remaining dirt is confined in the bed.
Proverbs 21:20  In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,

but a foolish man devours all he has.


Offline ND Martin

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Re: 'Tater Towers...
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2013, 09:05:20 AM »
It looks as if you slit the bag and guide the tips of new shoots so they can leaf out, you will increase the yield significantly.  Worth trying.

Offline ND Martin

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Re: 'Tater Towers...
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 10:47:53 AM »
For the sake of clarity, here is how I understand the potential improvement in technique.  The flaw in the traditional hilling of potatoes (and both your bag method and Lang's bucket technique) is that there apparently needs to be leaf for every root to get a higher yield.  So as you add height to the stack, you want to turn the new roots into “shaws” (leafy shoot) as soon as possible.  Essentially, guide the root to an opening on the side of the container and let it grow outwards.  Without doing this you're just adding soil volume.  By increasing the leaf surface from new growth the yield gets increased.  Makes sense to me and I'm gonna try it.   

Also thinking of using row covering fabric over each tower to help against insects. 


 


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