We planted our “tater tower” Kennebec potatoes on May 22nd of this year and harvested today – Oct. 8th (~ 4 1/2 months from sowing to harvest). Here is a photo journal of the process of taking it down. But first, lessons learned:
- Planting about 3 lbs yielded a little over 10 lbs. Hate to admit it, but this is *pathetic*. We should have gotten at least 6X, ideally 10X. Here’s a Gardenweb discussion on potato yield. However, we got some really nice large ones, unlike those we planted on the ground.
- We think some potato seeds rotted in the middle and never made it out to develop plants. Wondering if we should make the tower wide and skinny next year, and packing the straw less tightly to let the plants grow easier through the wire mesh. We found most of the potatoes along the perimeter of the tower.
- Clay + sand = bricks. We thought the sand would loosen the clay (doh). We will not make that mistake next year! The whole idea of building the tower was to reduce the strain of bending over & digging for potatoes, and minimizing casualties (spade stuck in potato). But there was still too much clay in this structure. We were cheap and did not use enough of the topsoil, nor did we buy seed potatoes especially suited to clay soil.
- We could have planted twice or even thrice as many potato seeds in this configuration – so next year, we’ll have a denser planting.
Here’s a quick video: