Sunday, October 7, 2012

Potato Towers Harvested

2012 was the first time I planted potatoes in towers. I used shredded leaves from last autumn as the medium and planted patio style tomatoes on top of each tower.

Several kinds of potatoes were planted. Three kinds produced spuds - Yukon Gold, Russet and Red Norland.

The tomatoes produced massive amounts of both Husky Cherry and Super Sweet 100 tomatoes. The day I cut down all the plants in the garden, both of these patio tomatoes were still producing fruit. However, the potatoes that were growing under the tomatoes should probably have been harvested earlier. As a matter of fact the potatoes really didn't produce as much leafy greens as they should. There were only a few greens growing out of the tower and those that grew were sparse and short lived. The potato plants were long dead before I cleared the tomatoes and opened the towers.
The towers were opened by straightening the short ends of wire left on each end of the wire fencing the formed each tower. One by one the wires were opened until the fencing could be pulled back. The fabric was opened and the digging for spuds began.

While digging through the shredded leaves, I came in contact with three kinds insects. The first and most aggressive was ants. Ant nests were distributed throughout the medium. In those ant nests were angry ants! They climbed from my hands to my forearms, biting along the way. They entered my shoes, climbed my ankles biting on their way up my pant legs. I had to step back and wipe the ants from my limbs. This took some time, for no sooner did they appear to be off my limbs more appeared, still biting.

Another lovely find in the media were sow bugs. The presence of sow bugs is what makes me think I should have harvested the potatoes earlier. The sow bugs were eating the spuds. Not a great deal of damage but damage none the less.

The last insect I encountered were cicada larvae. Big ugly cicada larvae. Down at the very bottom of each tower between all the weight of the media, potatoes and tomatoes in each tower were some 20 larvae. I placed them on the patio surface for the birds to feast upon. They dried in the sun without any interest from the birds.

Lets get down to the important facts about the potato towers.

The potatoes were small,

the potatoes were few. 

The total weight of all potatoes grown was 1031g/ 2.27lbs.

If I grow potatoes in towers next year there will be changes. Changes such as no tomatoes planted on top of the tower, a way to ensure water is delivered to the whole tower, possibly a different planting media and definitely space between the towers to allow the plant leaves to get more sun which I hope will produce larger spuds.

To the drawing board.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

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