Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Tater Tower

Awhile back, I read an article on Apartment Therapy titled How To Grow 100 Pounds of Potatoes in 4 Square Feet. Surrre, I snorted. As if.

Then I went out and got materials to build two of them. (Duh.)

First off, my days of planting long, gorgeous, scenic rows of potatoes are... on hold. Josh and I live in a cozy little house on an old street with a small, chain link-fenced back yard. The yard had a few existing beds, but this spring we added two more so that now the entire yard is bordered by deep beds. Our landlord isn't crazy about the idea of raised beds. We made do.

Enter the TATER TOWER, as I've come to call them.

It's a simple premise: you cut and screw wood together to make a square frame. Add one level, your potatoes, some soil/compost/whatever, and wait. When the potatoes emerge and grow above that layer, add another level of boards, some soil, eventually more potatoes... and repeat.

As you can see, our tower is on its third level and definitely needs another level, stat. (Time to find Josh. Where'd he get off to? :)

I was too slow to the feed store this year to buy seed potatoes. Down here in our extremely rural, economically depressed area, lots of people are growing their own food now. Feed and supply stores aren't keeping up with demand. So instead of missing out, I thickly peeled potatoes that were sprouting, leaving about a half-inch of potato attached to the skin. I let them hang out over night and then planted.

Hello, 100 pounds of potatoes. (I hope.)

Did you know you could do that? Plant thick potato peelings and get your own taters back? Cool, right? So cool.

But our grown-from-peels taters aren't alone. Our cabbage is already yummy:

 That was actually three weeks ago and it's nearly ready to harvest now. 

And check out my peas! I noticed the first pods yesterday and garden geeked out over them:

Ah yes. It just isn't spring until you see a little green. Don't throw out those sprouting potato peels this year!


Betty said...

Love that luscious green! Brin, I do hope you get your 100 lbs of potatoes:) It's late for us this spring but I will get some veggies planted eventually. Such a nice treat to grow your own vegetables!

jAne said...

i've seen this on pinterest but haven't given it serious thought. one reason for that is the lack of direct sun (for more than a few hours) in our yard. we were so intent on planting trees 15 years ago to help with summer a/c expense that the gardening aspect was flung out the window. sigh.

Anonymous said...

My grandpa used to tell me a story about how his mom would bury the kitchen scraps in the yard on their dairy farm in OH. Certain times of the year, she go out to dig in more and find potatoes growing from her peelings from months before. Always thought that was pretty cool. Best of luck with your garden, Whit