Last year I built three towers to satisfy my own curiosity about growing potatoes in a tower. The one tower was a complete disaster because of a transparent tower that caused leaf development 10” from the surface. The other two did very well with potatoes developing over a 16” length of underground stem. These were short towers as I was not looking for a lot of potatoes but I did want to see the anatomy of a potato plant and just where the potatoes grew from.
While researching potato towers I found many people claiming success and a few that said that it was not possible. At the same time almost everybody claimed that early potatoes did not do well in towers. Well the Yukon Gold is our early potato, and the Kennebec is our mid-season potato, so I went with the Kennebec for my test.
After I harvested the broccoli and cabbage it opened up a pathway to a volunteer Yukon Gold potato plant and I decided it was time for it to go. That crazy plant had lifted that bed about three ins.
Later when I was cleaning up the debris I noticed that there were potatoes growing on that part of the stem that was above ground. If you look close at the lower most potatoes you can see leaves growing behind them and they are below the potatoes above.
Now when someone talks about potato towers this photo pops in to my mind and I wonder why Yukon Gold potatoes do not do well in a tower. I figure the only way to get that photo out of my mind is to have another experiment so here goes another tower.
There is a Yukon Gold with four chitted buds planted at least 8” deep in the base as you see it.
The tower was then filled with amended potting soil which puts the seed spud about 15” below the surface. I will fill the tower as the weather compresses it keeping the soaker hose about 2-3” and the seed spud about 16”+ below the surface. Wish me luck, John