This is where potato towers will come in. The towers can be wire cages, burlap bags, plastic barrels or wooden crates or boxes.
The tower consist of soil/compost layer at the bottom with he seed potatoes set/spread properly and then covered with a soft, rich soil/manure/compost blend.
Water regularly but don’t “drown” the plants.
After 3-4 weeks the plants should be 2-4 inches tall – At this stage watch the plants and when they are 5-6 tall- add more compost/soil( a pretty soft mixture and maintain the watering and “eyeball” maintenance until the plants have grown 3-4 more inches and again you will add a soft mixture of soil/compost/manure and straw.
This process can be repeated until the top of the tower which a final layer of mulch( pine needles are great here)- is added.
Now the plants have grown to be 3 feet or more and are thriving in the tower and surrounded/protected by the compost and soil mixture. This rich combination will also provide a complete feed to the growing plants and tubers and the potential of as many as 20-35 pounds of potatoes.
Now in this phase the plants can be watched for insects/beetles that might LIKE some spuds as well as any disease that can fight potatoes. This tower makes it easier to control and monitor.
At the end of the growing season the tower can be disassembled and the potatoes harvested, If using the straw as shown in the picture – The cage and straw is removed and then the soil spread and the potatoes harvested. If using aburlap sacks- they can be turned on the side and emptied or cut open with knife/shears( be careful)
If a barrel of wooden tower is used open or turn over as appropriate.
Allow all freshly harvested potatoes to dry in the sun (or inside) for a little while so they will develop a little it of shelf life. If planning on storing look into preparation for storage as well as storage methods.
WARNING/REMINDER- The soil that was used for this process should not be used for nightshade plants NEXT season (peppers/eggplants/tomatoes/potatoes). It may contain remnants of blight and other enemies of similar plants. Use it for squash or peas or onions…..