I love experimenting in the garden.  I was thinking recently that there must be a better way to grow sweet potato than in the ground.  I wondered if sweet potato could be layered like potatoes can, so this is what I have come up with.

My sweet potato tower.

I started with 4 stakes and some chicken wire.  (ignore the green bits they are weeds)

Then I covered the base with newspaper to smother the weeds.

I had a pot with some sweet potato cuttings in it (two types).  I emptied this into the middle

of the tower. 

I then added compost and worm farm compost around and slightly over the sweet potato.

I intend to keep building up the compost in the tower to raise the level and encourage the sweet potato to grow upwards and produce more tubers as it moves up vertically.  I intend to let the leaves of the sweet potato grow out the sides, but I will keep them trimmed, so they don't then start growing in the garden around the tower.  This should look interesting too, a productive green tower.  I think I might put a tube down the middle to assist with keeping it watered.

I'll let you know how it progresses.

This is so much fun :)



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Comment by Pete Vicars on November 16, 2014 at 14:15

I like the whole idea, hope it works well for you.  If you put a length of say 90mm water pipe down the middle you can also drop kitchen scraps down there where they will compost.  Drilling a few holes in the pipe allows worms in  and out of compost water area.  I have been thinking about doing this myself to conserve space. :)

Comment by Lyn Buffett on May 8, 2013 at 14:37

It is growing very well, but I have not looked to see what is growing underneath yet.  It might be a bit soon as I only planted it in Feb.  I have never had a lot of succes before so I hope I can get even a fraction of what you did last year!!!

Comment by PHIL GRIFFITH-LEAKE on May 8, 2013 at 12:01

Hi Lyn

Whats the progress with the sweet potato tower? I grew sweet potatoes last year from a plant Norma gave me. It grew very thick,my 3 year old  grandaughter pushed back the leaves and discovered loads of potatoes about 2 buckets full, they were clumped and small but really tasty. I think I will try your idea this time.

Comment by robyn denmeade on March 4, 2013 at 7:56

I think it is in papua new guinea?? (cannot recall exactly), they actually make a mound first then put the vine with roots through the top of the mound; also the vine as it grows is nipped back which puts more energy into growing more tubers. I planted mine with my normal potatoes in a similar manner to you Lyn, but not expecting anything great as I don't do well with potatoes no matter how I plant them.

Comment by Lyn Buffett on March 3, 2013 at 15:05

Yes Gergely this is what I am expecting.  I have been told that where the plant puts down roots it can develop a tuber.  So I am hoping that each time it gets covered, it produces roots and then more tubers.  T haven't had huge success with sweet potato in the past.  Maybe too much nitrogen (like Norma said) 

Comment by Gergely Szabo on March 3, 2013 at 9:45

@ Lynn,

That's an interesting concept. I should have had a closer look yesterday at the wicking workshop. Do you recon that as the vines are growing upwards and will be covered again and again they will develop tubers on top of eachother?  I'm keen to hear about the result.


I have started a discussion 'Swett potato - what's your experience?'

There is already some pretty detailed advice there from Norma and Dale, check it out. I hope more people will add their knowledge in the future.

Comment by warren goodlet on February 19, 2013 at 12:54

Wow, what a great idea lyn, i'd be very interested in the result.

Comment by Lyn Buffett on February 18, 2013 at 22:19

Will do Robyn.  Thanks for the tip :)

Comment by robyn denmeade on February 18, 2013 at 8:31

Lyn, when you trip the sweet potato leaves use them in a stir fry or mixed veggie dish, they are very good for you and tasty at the same time

Comment by Lyn Buffett on February 9, 2013 at 8:20

I am not sure how long.  I have not had all that much luck with them in the past.  Lots of green, but only a few tubers.


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