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Old June 27, 2016   #1
Brent M
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Default Vertical Potato & Sweet Potato Tower

i all. I've had limited success with container potatoes. In fact, I'm really new at it. In my greenhouse, I've had successes (and failures) growing all kinds of veggies in containers for 2 years now. Before that, outside in containers. Before that, traditional gardening. I started vertical gardening with some of the containers in the greenhouse, to save space, and had some success and failure there as well making adjustments as I go. Ok, enough of the background. What I've done is create a potato tower, attempting to grow potatoes and sweet potatoes, vertically. I have 40 containers in a 2' x 10' space--24 potatoes and 16 sweets. I'd welcome any feedback based on your experience with container-grown potatoes. And, the reason is because I've just completed it and can make adjustments now if needed. I don't mind feedback here or on the YouTube channel. Thank you.

Here's the video: https://youtu.be/-iCA_Lk7BgA

Brent

Last edited by Brent M; June 27, 2016 at 08:12 PM.
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Old June 29, 2016   #2
wmontanez
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Depends on the potatoes you select to grow. Anything commercially available is just wasting dirt to get towers. By commercial available I am talking Yukon Gold, Red Norland, Russet Burbank and the like. From other container growers I found that going above 16in depth also does not produce much difference.

Sweet potatoes: Growing vertically means trellising the greens upwards. I suppose a depth of 12in or so is more than enough to the roots to develop. If possible select a bush type. The vines of sweet potato that tend to sprawl have to be secured (tied) to the trellis because it does not have tendrils like cucumbers/peas/watermelon. Is worth mentioning that sweet potato greens are edible too.

For the both types of potatoes, mulching helps with moisture retention.
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Old June 30, 2016   #3
Brent M
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Depends on the potatoes you select to grow. Anything commercially available is just wasting dirt to get towers. By commercial available I am talking Yukon Gold, Red Norland, Russet Burbank and the like. From other container growers I found that going above 16in depth also does not produce much difference.

Sweet potatoes: Growing vertically means trellising the greens upwards. I suppose a depth of 12in or so is more than enough to the roots to develop. If possible select a bush type. The vines of sweet potato that tend to sprawl have to be secured (tied) to the trellis because it does not have tendrils like cucumbers/peas/watermelon. Is worth mentioning that sweet potato greens are edible too.

For the both types of potatoes, mulching helps with moisture retention.
Hey, I appreciate the response. Take a look at the video. It'll change your response entirely! What I'm doing I haven't seen before. The video shows everything from concept, to planting. to stacking containers. The foliage will grow out and down. All is inside the greenhouse.
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Old June 30, 2016   #4
NathanP
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Brent - what varieties are you using in the towers? Success with planting deeply will require staying away from determinate potatoes. And Wendy is correct, stay away from commercial potatoes if you are planting anywhere over 16-18" deep.
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Old July 1, 2016   #5
Brent M
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Brent - what varieties are you using in the towers? Success with planting deeply will require staying away from determinate potatoes. And Wendy is correct, stay away from commercial potatoes if you are planting anywhere over 16-18" deep.
Hey Nathan! I really encourage folks to look at the video. It is quite thorough. It shows that each 12" tall bucket has its own two seed potatoes. So, max growing height is 12". They are stacked vertically to take advantage of space and drip hydroponic nutrient. The video will make it clear.

I have two potatoes growing--an indeterminate and a determinate. And, sweet potatoes. Every little detail is in the video including the varieties.

Hope this clears things up a little. I think folks see "growing vertically" and automatically go to all the assumptions where folks keep stacking structure/dirt on top of the same plant. In my situation, this isn't the case.

Still would love to hear your thoughts after.
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Old July 3, 2016   #6
wmontanez
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Brent
You are making use of vertical space that is a good concept for people that don't have enough land as long as the have the resources to built the infrastructure. I grow climbing crops that have tendrils as a way to maximize my plot area (watermelon, peas, cucumber etc)

Two things come to mind: when you re-plant your harvested crop, I found that by chilling the potato tuber for 2-3 weeks then planting it, the tuber breaks dormancy and grows. If planted right away sometimes it rots. Secondly, the sweet potato growing tips can be eaten stir fry
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Old July 4, 2016   #7
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Brent, for someone doing something similar, check on this. This is from a member of the Kenosha Potato Project living in Japan.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
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Old July 4, 2016   #8
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I watched the video it looks nice.
Have you considered jut taking the sweet potato vine without cutting it and pegging it in more containers?

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Old July 4, 2016   #9
Brent M
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Two things come to mind: when you re-plant your harvested crop, I found that by chilling the potato tuber for 2-3 weeks then planting it, the tuber breaks dormancy and grows. If planted right away sometimes it rots. Secondly, the sweet potato growing tips can be eaten stir fry
Excellent. I will test the chill theory and give it a go in the future! I have heard that SP vines/leaves are edible. I follow a guy on YouTube and he makes use of them often.
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Old July 4, 2016   #10
Brent M
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I watched the video it looks nice.
Have you considered jut taking the sweet potato vine without cutting it and pegging it in more containers?

Worth
I sure have! In fact, tere is 1 bucket of sweets I had populated two adjacent buckets just as you say. I didn't video that part. Thought it'd be too distracting in style. Originally, I'd considered plant a row and as the vines grow, add a bucket above it and populate that bucket with the vines leaving them attached. Then when those vines grow, do it again. Thing is that I'd waste lots of growing season waiting on vine growth. Instead, I cut up all the vines as you see to give each bucket a longer growing season and potentially end up with more yield by late fall. Nice thoughts!
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Old July 4, 2016   #11
Brent M
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Brent, for someone doing something similar, check on this. This is from a member of the Kenosha Potato Project living in Japan.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
Love it! Milk crates stack nicely. I wish I could find something so sturdy, but without so many holes so as to conserve water. Wonderful find. Thanks.
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Old July 22, 2016   #12
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I recycled recycling bins from the last waste hauler that did not want them back to be my sweet potato containers. I picked up the slips so late on a whim as I bought strawberries at a local farm/market. In 5 weeks, they are super healthy with the vine streaming down on the patio. I can't wait to harvest them in late Oct.

I added small bag of humus & manure and a large bag of black kow compost to the soil already in the bins. The compost has really recharged the bins. Time to give them a little fertilizer 0-0-22. And I'll steep a little Black Strap.

Saw another YouTube video that finally show how to grow white potatoes in basic of terms. So it got me thinking about try them next year. I picked up 3 tubtrugs. Or maybe I'll get some those garden plant bags to be able to plant both.

Your vertical idea is so very interest. More work than I can do by myself. Did you have a video of the size of your harvest?

My sister is so wonderful to give me the space on her patio for all these containers. She says nothing about the extra water useage during the summer. She even will helps me dump over containers to find the tubers. She even let me plant blueberries and blackberries at her house. We all enjoy the bountiful harvest. This year it should be good!
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Old July 22, 2016   #13
Brent M
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I recycled recycling bins from the last waste hauler that did not want them back to be my sweet potato containers. I picked up the slips so late on a whim as I bought strawberries at a local farm/market. In 5 weeks, they are super healthy with the vine streaming down on the patio. I can't wait to harvest them in late Oct.

I added small bag of humus & manure and a large bag of black kow compost to the soil already in the bins. The compost has really recharged the bins. Time to give them a little fertilizer 0-0-22. And I'll steep a little Black Strap.

Saw another YouTube video that finally show how to grow white potatoes in basic of terms. So it got me thinking about try them next year. I picked up 3 tubtrugs. Or maybe I'll get some those garden plant bags to be able to plant both.

Your vertical idea is so very interest. More work than I can do by myself. Did you have a video of the size of your harvest?

My sister is so wonderful to give me the space on her patio for all these containers. She says nothing about the extra water useage during the summer. She even will helps me dump over containers to find the tubers. She even let me plant blueberries and blackberries at her house. We all enjoy the bountiful harvest. This year it should be good!
I have a video of sorts for the sweets. Baby sweets were emptied making this vertical tower video. I had some luck with white and red potatoes, but not too much yet. Leaves died off too fast. I'm giving it another go vertically with some lessons learned and hope it works out. I'll video the results as I video all greenhouse stuff.

You sister sounds amazing and I'm glad you have an avenue to grow some food! I sure hope you have a bumper crop. Post back if you like. Love hearing grow stories.
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Old July 22, 2016   #14
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Excellent. I will test the chill theory and give it a go in the future! I have heard that SP vines/leaves are edible. I follow a guy on YouTube and he makes use of them often.
Brent
There are varieties grown in Asia just for greens.
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Old July 22, 2016   #15
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Thanks for sharing. It is interesting concept. Definitely worth trying. Many good points.
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