Sadly in 2018 when we tried growing potatoes in our new vegetable beds they were badly eaten by vine weevel and our root growing days were over. We have been treating the ground, soil and compost with nematodes and are ready to grow again in 2020.
Learning from our mistakes we decided to go back to growing vertically with the potatoes and use our most effective, high yielding method which is low cost, easy and space saving. This year we are also experimenting to see if you can grow potatoes successfully from scraps. We will update this post in Autumn and let you know!
How We Did It...
Add a layer of your seed potatoes or scraps on top of the soil. Don't tuck them too far away in the tyre rim but do use as much of the space as possible. They can go pairly close together without touching. Leave 2-3 cm around each potato.
Cover the potatoes and fill the rest of the tyre making sure there are no gaps but without packing the soil too tightly.
Put another tyre on top of the first giving a second layer.
What you need:
Per Tower -
Find a suitable spot for your towers where they can well drain and will get regular sunlight. If it is on top of grass put a thick layer of cardboard down first.
Lay the first tyre, make sure it is fairly well leveled. Fill the tower 2/3 full of soil/compost mix.
The final process involves harvesting your potatoes.
Early varieties and new potatoes can possibly be harvested when flowering but we prefer to wait.
Allow the plants to flower, and stop watering once the begin to wither and die back. Once they are yellowed and totally limp they are ready to start harvesting. You can wait and allow the potatoes to grow but don't wait too late as they will ruin if frost hits.
The idea is to harvest layer by layer and save your soil. The top layer can be removed by tugging out the pants and following the root system seeking tubers. We use our hands or a hand trowel to find as many as possible before gently shoveling the soil into a barrow and removing the potatoes if any more are found.
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