Growing potatoes is a fun project for kids and adults. They can be successfully grown in a large container or directly in the ground. I’ve even seen them grown in straw bales! If you are interested in trying that, you will need to find organic straw.
Soil preparation is very important since potatoes like loose soil and our soil is naturally heavy. Compost is the easiest and fastest way to loosen your garden soil.
The first step is to cut the potatoes into chunks with at least 2 sprouts in each chunk. Our sets are just starting to sprout, making it easier to do. As you cut the potato, place the cut pieces in a container in a single layer – being careful not to break off the sprouts. We usually do this the day before we plan to plant so the cut part of the potato can seal over.
We plant ours in the ground and start by marking off the row with a string line – not necessary, but we like straight rows. Use a hoe to make a furrow in the soil about 12 inches deep. Start placing potato pieces in the furrow 12 inches apart. My hand trowel is 12 inches long so I usually use that for measuring. Carefully press the potato piece into the soil – still being careful to not break off the sprouts. I try to place the potato piece so that the cut side is facing down and the sprouts are facing up. After you have all your pieces in the furrow, fill it in with about half of the loose soil that you took out. The potatoes should be covered with about 1 inch of soil. As the potatoes begin to sprout through the soil, you will go back and fill in the furrow with the rest of the loose soil. Before I fill in the final time, I sprinkle some granular organic fertilizer in the furrow then fill in the soil over the top. I use Dr Earth.
When your potatoes are all up and out of the soil, you will need to check them every couple of days for Colorado potato beetles ( I do this while I’m hoeing weeds). If you can destroy the adults and any eggs you find early in the season, it will make a big impact on the health of your plants. They’re 2nd favorite crop is eggplant. So, if you’re growing eggplant, try to keep it as far from your potatoes as possible and check them for beetles too. This is also a good time to hill your potatoes. I use a hoe and pull soil up onto each side of the row. The benefits of hilling are you will get more potatoes as the plants send out roots into the loose soil and you are removing the weeds at the same time. After your final hilling, you can put down a mulch to keep the soil moist and reduce future weeds. Organic straw is my first choice. If you can’t find that – you can use crass clippings from a trusted source (the herbicides that many people use on their lawn will kill you garden vegetables) or chopped leaves.
I feed my plants with a spray of liquid seaweed 2 or 3 times throughout the season.
At the end of the season, the plants will start to turn yellow. Before the vines totally die (and you loose track of where your plants are) start digging your potatoes! This is the exciting part! We use a garden fork and loosen the soil about 12 inches away from the base of the plant. Nothing makes me sadder than to find a stabbed beautiful potato on the end of my fork.
We will have certified organic potato sets available starting Friday.
Contact us to place your order and we will have it ready for you in our self service farmstand. You can pick it up and pay with no contact!
All potato sets are $5.00 per container. Carola and Red Gold are 1 pound in the container – Austrian Crescent is 12 ounces.
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