SELECTING POTATOES – You want to buy potatoes from a reputable seed catalog or garden center to ensure they are grown for seeding and not ... Read More
SOIL PREPARATION - potatoes grow in just average soil, so a great deal of soil preparation is not really needed. However the addition of some compost or a little peat moss is beneficial. Don’t use fresh manure or lime in the soil where potatoes are to be grown, it can scab the potatoes. You want the soil tilled to about a foot and you can add some 10-20-10 to help them grow.
CUTTING POTATOES - if the seed potatoes are small to medium sized, plant the whole potato. If they are large sized, you can cut them in half, or quarter them. Each section should have two or three 'growth eyes'. After cutting, let the cut surface callus-over before planting them.
SPACING - potatoes can be grown in many different ways. If you have lots of room the cut pieces can be spaced about a foot apart in rows which are spaced two to three feet apart. Then cover with about an inch of soil. Pull in additional soil as the plants develop. Always be certain the surface tubers are covered with soil.
You can plant potatoes in a trench and then add soil as the potatoes grow. This keeps them from breaking through the soil
Other interesting ways to grow potatoes: how about in stacks of straw or mulch, in black plastic bags, in garbage cans or to stacks of tires. Potatoes are a fun and easy crop to vegetable.
Field growing: For most gardeners, growing potatoes in the garden is the preferred method. Plants are spaced 5-12” apart and rows are spaced 1-2’ apart.
Straw: Scandinavians have grown potatoes in stacks of straw or other mulching material. Potatoes are planted above ground in the straw, and as the vines begin to grow, additional straw` or mulch is mounded up around the base of the plants. This results in a yield of very clean potatoes. New potatoes can be harvested easily even before the potato vines mature completely.
Under plastic or in plastic garbage bags: Garden soil or a commercial potting soil can be used to grow the potatoes in the bags, Fold over the top half of the bag, fill with soil, and plant a certified seed potato that has been cut in half. The plastic bag can be set above ground wherever it's convenient. Punch holes in the bottom of the bag for drainage.
You also can plant potatoes under black plastic. Cut open a piece of the black plastic, and plant a potato piece. The potato tubers will develop as they would in the open ground. However, the tubers that develop close to the surface of the soil are shaded by the black plastic and should not develop the green inedible portions that often are found on other tubers. The black plastic also will aid in controlling weeds.
Garbage cans or containers: Old garbage cans, or wooden or fiberboard-type containers are suitable for growing potatoes, if they have adequate drainage. You can conserve space by growing them in this manner. A word of caution, though: The plants tend to dry out more rapidly when grown in containers, so additional watering will be needed. Otherwise, you're likely to end up with misshapen tubers.
WATERING – Water potatoes regularly through the summer. Hollow or black center potatoes means you are overwatering.
HARVESTING – You can harvest “new potatoes” when the plants are flowering. Be sure to eat these right away as they are soft and can rot. Later in the summer you can harvest storage potatoes.
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