Planting potatoes...

Potatoes are a relatively easy crop to grow. Hubby and I planted 3 varieties last year and had a good crop that lasted us a good part of the winter.

Potatoes are also an inexpensive plant to grow. You can find potato seeds, which basically look like little potatoes at most hardware and garden stores. All you need for each plant is a small portion of the seed and an "eye" of the potato. You can buy some of the larger seeds and cut them so that each one has an "eye" and they should all grow just fine.

They say it is not advisable to use "seeds" from your own potatoes year after year, because they can become prone to disease if done too frequently. Hubby and I did do this year because we had no trouble with our plants last year and sometimes I think recommendations are not always set in stone. They want to sell me more "seeds".

They also say you shouldn't use potatoes from the grocery store to use as seeds because they can have disease or viruses that don't have to be disclosed to the public.... comforting isn't it?

After you've selected the variety of potatoes you'd like to grow (I love red and golden-yum), and made your purchase of seed, you need to let them sit for several days in a well lit area to give them a chance to sprout... this will speed their start.

You also need to find a suitable place to plant them. Potatoes need moist, loose soil for best results, and do better in milder temperatures so will usually do better with a start in the spring.

Dig a trench 6-8 inches deep and bury the seeds from 10-12 inches apart. Don't worry about which direction is up, the seeds will get their start no matter the direction you plant them. You will likely notice the plants peeking through the surface in about 2 weeks.

After the plants begin to produce a nice amount of folage, it's a good idea to start mounding some extra dirt up around the plant. The potato crop actually grows in the soil between the seed and the folage of the plant, so by adding extra dirt or straw, you add growing space for your crop.

If your potatoes begin to peak through the soil, add some dirt or straw on top of them. Potatoes that are exposed to sunlight while growing turn green, hard, and don't taste good.

You can begin to harvest at any point that you want. Simply dig along side one of your plants to check for size to determine if they are ready for harvest. The exact time of harvest is up to you. Do you want young, baby potatoes? Harvest early. A large, meaty potato? Harvest later after the vines have died off.

Store your potatoes in a cool, moist, and dark area. Generally 38-40 degrees is ideal.

Enjoy your bounty!


Patti said...

Thanks for the info. I've got some grocery store reds sprouting in the fridge to attempt in the garden. Heres hoping for health!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the tips we planted lots of potatoes this year and we are excited for them, how long do they usually take from planting to picking potatoes?

Suz said...

It depends on the variety, but looks to be 2-4 months... big window, I know.

If you want smaller potatoes, harvest about 2 wks after the flowers have died on the plants. For larger potatoes, wait until the folage has basically died off and then go for it.

Hope that helps... enjoy your potatoes!

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