Then the fun part: one by one the seed potatoes were laid on top of the layer of compost, with the eyes facing outward so that leafy green growth of the potato plant would peek through the wire and eventually cover the cylinder like a steroidal Chia pet. Then another few inches of compost, then more seed potatoes, then more compost, and so on all the way to the top of the cylinder. The top layer was compost with a couple of nasturtium plants for happiness.
As time passed, we excitedly watched the first green sprouts stretch through the wire and unfurl in the sunlight. Sprouts became vines that eventually covered the cylinders with green leaves. August arrived and we watched the vines dying off, signalling the coming harvest day. Mid-August and I could wait no more... I slipped my hand beneath the rich brown compost at the top of the first potato tower. Immediately my fingers found something firm and round. I pulled my hand out and opened it to reveal a perfect, creamy Carola potato. Woo-hoo! We had become potato farmers!
Ok, not really, but it was definitely time to harvest the potatoes and assess the tower concept. The hubs spread a tarp on the ground by the base of the towers and gently tipped the first tower over onto the tarp. He began by pulling a bit of the compost from what was the bottom of the tower, and then pulling out the drainage pipe from the center of the cylinder.
I couldn't believe it! Little nuggets of diabetic naughtiness were in there, just waiting for us to pull them out. Finding a few right away, we kept digging until all the potatoes in the first tower were unearthed. Hhmmm... didn't seem like a stellar crop... maybe the second tower would have a higher yield...
So, the second tower came down, and the process was repeated. It was wonderfully exciting and I wish I could say that we found more potatoes than even our small household could eat this winter. It was **sigh** a humble harvest.
$20 for one roll of wire fencing (reusable)
$0 for the straw
$who-knows-how-much for the compost (reusable)
$13.95 for 1 lb. of Carola see potatoes
$13.50 for 1 lb. of Rose Finn Apple Fingerling potatoes
$6 for 10 feet of perforated drainage pipe (reusable)
Total investment: Somewhere in the neighborhood of $75.
Total yield: Less than 10 pounds (of honestly the most adorable potatoes ever grown)
|We did harvest more than depicted here... I promise...|
Next year we just might purchase perfectly acceptable, organic, locally-grown potatoes from one of our favored farmers.