Joel In The Garden

Joel in Garden: How to build tater towers

Joel in Garden: How to build tater towers »Play Video

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EUGENE, Ore. - Now is a good time of year for gardeners to start burying potatoes.

No matter how big your growing space is, you can quickly run out of room if you try burying them all.

That’s why you can build your own potato towers that your plants can climb

Warmer days mean the garden is coming alive. And people around Eugene and Springfield are loading up on compost to wake up their own garden beds.

“We have some self-serve bins. So you don't have to have the big pickup truck to come in and get a load. But if you do need a big load, we can deliver as well,” Tom Campbell said. Campbell works for Lane Forest Products, which offers several types of compost in Eugene.

If you've got your eye on some potato planting, burying them is easy enough.

But you can build your own potato tower without much of a hassle.

The idea is that the potatoes will grow vertically, rather than spreading out, saving you space in your plot. The first thing you'll need is some wire fencing.

Using a wire cutter, cut a sheet about four feet long and coil it shut with zip ties.

Next you can place straw around the inside edges to hold in moisture.

Then, you can toss in one or two potatoes on the bottom. Next, you can throw in a few scoops of the mixed veggie boost compost.

But Campbell says the Nature's Best compost you'll find at Lane Forest Products works just as well.

“It's kind of a sandier soil, but it works perfect for potatoes, onions, things that do want a loose, well-draining soil,” Campbell said.

As you keep adding more and more compost to your tower, watering can be a challenge. So you can add a length of PVC pipe with holes drilled in the bottom that'll feed water directly to the roots. One of the most attractive features of the tower is that it requires almost no digging. Once your potatoes are done growing, you simply pick up the tower and shake the potatoes out of the bottom.
Potatoes should be rotated in the garden every year. If your potatoes are already sprouting several eyes, you can cut them into smaller pieces and plant each one.