Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Planting Potatoes

Why grow potatoes?

  • They are easy to grow, other than the first several weeks of growing, they don't need a thing other than watering until harvest time.
  • Fresh, good quality, affordable, organically grown potatoes at the grocery store can be hard to find. 
  • Selection at the grocery store is often limited to the standard varieties, like russet, red, and Yukon gold.
  • Freshly dug potatoes have GREAT flavor!
Potatoes fit right into my garden plan of growing: what we like to eat, what is best grown organically, what may be hard to find in the store.  This year we are growing Kenebec, French Fingerling, and German Butterball. We purchased the potatoes from Concentrates; do not use regular grocery-store potatoes, they may have been treated with a chemical to keep them from sprouting. We have them planted in our home garden (in big tree pots) and in our community garden plot (in the ground).
French Fingerling Potatoes, cut up for planting, we made sure each section had 2 or 3 growing eyes and left the cut pieces out to dry for a few days before planting.
Potatoes should be planted in early spring, a few weeks before the last frost. They are planted shallowly to start with and soil is mounded over them as they grow- this produces more potatoes than just planting and forgetting them. As the potato plants grow up through the soil cover the stems and lower leaves with soil eventually ending up with the soil around the plants "hilled up"  a few inches higher than the surrounding ground.
We dug a deep hole in one of our community garden beds and covered the potato pieces with a few inches of soil, as they start to grow we will fill in with more soil, just keeping a few inches of green above ground.
Flowering potato plants signal that actual potatoes are forming. When the plants yellow and die back, that signals it's time to harvest.
These are the potatoes harvested from our community garden plot last fall. 
Here is a video from Garden Time TV on how to plant potatoes:

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