Friday, March 1, 2013

Tater Towers

So with all those seed potatoes that my sweetheart got me, I'm going to need to be creative about how to plant them. I've learned the hard way never to plant them in the soil of my garden: you never get them all when you harvest, so you have potato weeds sprouting up all over your garden.

We have white (Cal White), red (Cherry Red), gold (Yukon Gold), and Purple (Purple Majesty)

So I put together a couple of what I call "Tater Towers." (I found something like them online, but I think they were called something else there.) The wire was support for green beans last year, and I wasn't all that impressed with the bean harvest in that location, so the wire is getting re-purposed.

The idea is that you form a cylinder of wire, you line it with straw, and put some dirt inside, on top of landscape cloth to keep the taters from burrowing into the dirt beneath, and to prevent moles from coming up and eating your taters. Keeps pernicious weeds out too; there are buttercups in this part of the yard.

Then you put your potato starts inside and cover them with dirt. As they grow, the greenery will come out the side, and out the top. On top, you add more straw lining, and more dirt, covering much - but not all - of the greens. As they grow you keep doing this throughout the season.

Come end of the year, pull the wire out, pull the taters out of the heap of dirt, and compost the straw. These are starting out poorly: my straw is a couple of years old, and pretty well composted already. I have a layer of composting straw on top of the landscape cloth, under the dirt, and it does a pretty poor job of lining the wire cages.

I 've put in two layers so far; I've reserved a few seed taters for adding a month or so from now.

The tower by the back fence (to B & A's) has gold on the left, and purple on the right. In the tower by the side fence (to T's), we have white on the left and red on the right. The sunset colors are on the west, toward the sunset. That's left & right in this photo.) A big ol' Norfolk pine in between them, and a future garden pond (upside down) in the back.

I have another place for the fingerlings, and I probably ought to learn something about them before planting them.

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