Here’s a little rundown of how the towers are made and the tools you’ll need, if you would like to make one yourself:
Tools -Claw hammer -Crow bar -Pallet splitter (ideal, but not essential) -Drill with drill bit or screwdriver (make sure you have the correct drill bit/screwdriver for your screws) -1-2inch screws (pack of 100) -Handsaw -4-6 late season, chitted potatoes (check variety for planting and harvesting times) -compost as required (200-400 litres) …and at least three wooden pallets marked with ‘HT’ (stands for ‘heat treated’ i.e. no chemicals) and with full length wooden posts dividing the pallet planks (as these will be used for the potato tower corner posts), not wooden blocks at the corners. Start by levering up the pallet planks using the hammer to whack the back of the crow bar under where the nails are securing the plank to the dividing wooden posts. The nails need to be right between the crow bar claw before you lever. If you can’t get in from one side, try and reach nails on the other side. Once the plank is up, move to the next. A pallet splitter (if you have one) can be used by resting the back edge on the dividing post with one or both of the teeth under the plank and levering (see the third photo). If you’re having trouble, you can always saw the planks off! Once your pallets have been divided up in to planks and posts, you can start assembling the tower. To do this, first consider what shape you’d like your tower. If you’d like it to be square then cut your planks to the same length, if you’d like it to be rectangular, you’ll need the same number of two different lengths Once your planks are cut, take two posts and lie them on the ground. Then position a plank on top, flush with one end of the post. Screw the plank to the posts with a screw at either end, then add three more planks above (see the fourth photo). You may want to drill a pilot hole through the plank and in to the post if you’re having trouble with the screwing. Do the same again for the opposing ‘wall’ of your tower (if you’re making a rectangular tower, make sure you use the same length planks for the second wall as the first). Then, stand both walls on their sides and position a plank at the base of the two posts i.e. in the equivalent position of the first plank you screwed in place for first two walls. Add three more planks above, as before. You should now have three walls of your tower complete. Repeat for your fourth and final wall! Now that the initial stage of your tower is complete, you can fill the base of your tower with 20cm of soil (ideally, rich compost, and we recommend going peat-free for the climate!). Place potatoes 15- 20cm apart on the soil surface, water thoroughly, and cover with another 20cm of compost. Maintain regular watering so that the soil remains moist, but not waterlogged, at all times. When the potatoes emerge and reach approximately 4 inches, mound 2 inches of soil around them (and add planks to your tower’s walls accordingly). Keep doing this until your potatoes need harvesting (baby potatoes want harvesting two to three weeks after the plants have finished flowering, whereas storing potatoes want harvesting two three weeks after the plant's foliage has died back). To harvest your potatoes you simply need to remove the planks from one of the walls of your tower. Avoid using the same compost for growing potatoes in twice. The nutrients will have depleted and it may contain potato pathogens that will harm future crops. There are several options for what to do with the compost. You can either solarise your compost to kill insects and disease on a tarpaulin; use the compost in a plot in your garden rotation that will have legumes (nitrogen-fixers) next year; add the compost to your compost bin; give the compost to your (or somebody’s) chickens.