Many people think about growing their very own garden with vegetables and fruit, but most of us never actually go through all of the work necessary to make that dream come true. The reality is, in the long run, after you put in the work, you’ll get a lot of produce (and enjoyment) out of it.
Fortunately, one person has come up with a super easy way to make a garden full of fresh potatoes a reality. Now that you don’t have to go through with the hard work, there’s really no reason not to grab your gloves, pick up a shovel, and get to gardening!
If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own lush backyard vegetable garden — but you don’t have much of a green thumb — there’s a project out there just for you. And the best part? It’ll yield actual, tasty results!
Thanks to Laurie Ashbach’s simple DIY project, you’ll be a gardener in no time. You’ll require only the following: four fence posts, an eight-foot section of wire, a wire cutter, straw, compost, bags of dirt, and “seed” potatoes to start. Are you ready?
Place your posts firmly into the ground so that your finished product can support your potato tower. Then, bend the wire around it to form a cone. Cut the wire as needed so that you get a clean edge to attach to.
Now that your potato tower exoskeleton is assembled, place the hay in the center of the structure. Make sure to keep it neat because this is where you are going to plant your potato garden. Only fill it with hay about 3/4 of the way.
Carve out a nest-like space in the middle of the hay, moving it up the sides so that there’s a hole in the middle. Then, fill the hole with compost. That’s how your potatoes will get their nutrients.
Try and get potatoes with at least four eyes (those little sprouting pieces that you typically cut off when cooking). The eyes are actually going to be helpful here because they’re the key to growing fresh, new potatoes!
Then slice the potatoes in half, making sure each half has at least a few eyes on it. This will help you get the most out of each potato! Then, place them inside the compost, nestling them so that they’re buried inside.
Not sure how many potatoes to plant in each tower? Laurie provides a handy guide: “I started with two pounds of potatoes, which translated to eight medium potatoes with about four eyes each, which meant there were 36 eyes total to plant.”
Now, all you need to do is water your potatoes, sit back, and relax. After planting her potatoes at the beginning of June, this was Laurie’s potato tower by July 4. See how green and bright Laurie’s leaves are?
Not too shabby, huh? Here’s a nice closeup shot of the budding potato plant’s flowers. Unfortunately, these buds won’t produce potatoes. They just show that the plants have really taken root and are flourishing.
Though potatoes are a pretty hardy vegetable, they will need lots and lots of water. Loose, well-drained, and consistently watered soil is, ultimately, a potato’s best friend! Make sure to cover up the roots with loose dirt to prevent sunburn.
Depending on where you live, your potatoes might require an irrigation system. Your potatoes need 1-2 inches of water each week. A soak hose allows you to water from the ground up, helping to eliminate fungi.
Congratulations! You should expect to have a nice crop within two-and-a-half to three months! Hope you’re in the mood for French fries! Make sure to harvest on a dry day so you can easily shake the potatoes loose.
Once growing season begins to wind down and the vines die — about late August — you likely won’t need to water the soil as much. Laurie also advises not to water the potatoes close to your harvest, so as to avoid digging through mud.
Uh…YUM! What could be more satisfying than a basket full of food that you have grown yourself? Not only are homegrown potatoes friendlier on your wallet, but they’re healthier since you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination or pesticides.
Storing your extra potatoes in a cool, dark, and dry place will help preserve them. You’ll want to avoid storing them anywhere next to apples, as the fruit’s ethylene gas can spoil your potatoes. Another tip to remember? Don’t wash your potatoes until right before you use them!
It’s also worth noting that while starchy spuds don’t always have the best reputation as a nutritious option, they truly have loads of health benefits. A potato naturally is just 110 calories. Without toppings, they contain no fat, cholesterol, or sodium!
Ready to get started with your own potato farm? Don’t be afraid to make more than one potato tower if you have space! These contraptions are so easy to maintain, you will have time to test out a ton of other brilliant gardening hacks.