Never Say Never – or Building A Permanent Potato Bed

There have been at least 3 occasions on which the DreadBrewer has agreed that we are done expanding our garden. And there have been at least 4 occasions on which the DreadBrewer has undertaken to convince me that we simply have to add another bed, another berry patch, another expansion. Most recently, he decided that our garden wasn’t complete without a permanent potato bed.

For those of you who don’t remember (which is probably most of you, as who has time and memory to devote to remembering someone else’s garden?), we’ve been growing our potatoes – quite successfully, I might add – in potato grow bags over on the septic system blocks.

Potato Grow BagHowever, this wasn’t enough to satisfy the DreadBrewer. He longed for something more permanent and undertook to convince me that we needed a permanent potato bed. He presented me with a set of plans from Urban Farm Magazine, that were published in an article called “DIY Tater Tower” in the March/April 2014 issue. I really wanted to post a link to the article, but I can’t figure out how to search the back issues on their website.

Originally, I took one look at them and said “Oh hell no.” The plans wanted you to build the bed out of cedar. Do you know how expensive cedar boards are?!? Just for kicks, we looked at Lowe’s one day and it would have cost well over $100 just for the lumber for this bed.

But, DB said he could build it out of scrap wood we had on hand, making the only outlay for this bed the hardware cloth and staples. And it would give him the opportunity to use the air compressor and staple gun I got him for Christmas. So how could I say no?

The original plans call for a box frame with the back side made out of solid, permanently affixed boards. They then have you add toggles to all 4 corner posts so that you can add boards to the other three sides as needed to build up the depth of the bed. We decided to skip the toggles and just add/remove boards with screws as needed.

We did follow the original plan’s instructions to add hardware cloth to the bottom of the bed in order to keep critters from eating our crop. The Littlest Brewster was instrumental in the building of our potato bed.

Adding Hardware Cloth

DB and the Littlest Brewster using power tools

Potato Bed 1

Ready for planting

Potato Bed 3

Baby potato plants!

Potato Bed 4

With the second level and more dirt added

We harvested potatoes from the grow bags a few weeks ago and are planning on harvesting the potatoes from the new bed pretty soon. I’ll be very interested to see if we get a higher yield from one versus the other. If you’d like more detailed instructions on how we built our bed or a copy of the original plans, let me know!

2 thoughts on “Never Say Never – or Building A Permanent Potato Bed

  1. So… here you are in my search for ‘permanent potato bed’…. how did it turn out? Did you get ‘permanent’ harvests in ’15 and ’16? šŸ™‚

    • The first year we didn’t get the drainage right and a lot of the potatoes rotted; the ones that we did get were great.
      The second year we got the drainage right (don’t put anything under the bed in an attempt to keep out weeds) but succumbed to potato beetles.
      We have since determined that the bins work best for us for growing carrots, parsnips, and green onions. It’s a great bed and it works well for potatoes, we would just rather use it for other crops.

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