How to Build a Potato Tower or Other Easy Spud Planter

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

3989 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

3989 Articles

Article Featured Image

potatoBox_2

You might think that growing potatoes is the kind of thing you need a lot of time, attention, and garden space to undertake. But the opposite is actually true. All you really need is a container of some sort, a few seed potatoes, some compost and fertilizer, and regular watering. I’ve seen people use large plastic flower pots, plastic shopping bags, a potato tower made out of pallets or wire mesh, and other containers. Here are a few different ways of growing container spuds, depending on how much space you have, how committed you are, and how big of a yield you’re looking for.

One of the more popular methods is the potato tower. In the above two videos, you can see how Becky, from Becky’s Homestead, first planted and then harvested her potato tower. Several videos on YouTube show the building of a tower where layers of potatoes and grow media are built up all at once. That won’t work. For a tower, you build up one layer at the bottom (of straw on the outside, grow media and your seed potatoes in the center), wait for the plants’ leaves to come through, plant another layer, and so on, to the top.

The YouTuber who goes by the name of AllotmentDiary has had great success with getting impressive potato yields out of growing the spuds in 15 and 30 liter plastic pots. Basically, all he does is he chitts (sprouts) the seed potatoes, plants two of them per pot around 2″ from the bottom. These pots are then half-filled with multi-purpose compost and potato fertilizer mixed in before planting the seed potatoes. When the plants grow to about 6″, he half covers the plants with fresh compost and continues to do this until they’re done. In 2014, using this method, he managed to grow 75 pounds of potatoes in seven 30 liter containers. He partially buries his containers (with drainage holes around the bottom edge) so that the roots have more real estate and the pots can benefit from ground water. But you could skip that step.

potatoBox_1Here is a project on Instructables on building a potato box out of wooden shipping pallets.


On the Learn How to Garden channel, they show you how to create a potato container garden in a recycled woven nylon bag. He uses the same basic technique as above. This method is great if you want to have a container garden or two on a patio or porch.

There are tons of project articles and videos for building potato towers, on YouTube, Instructables, Pinterest, and elsewhere. The ones that work all pretty much work the same, so it really comes down to a design that appeals to you and the amount of tatters you’re looking to grow.