Spring seems to be teasing us all, and I've had a serious itch to get some dirt under my nails. What better way than to start off with a food crop that literally gets you down in the dirt? Yep! Let's talk tubers 'n taters.
How do you grow potatoes, you say? First, find out your freeze date then count backwards 2 weeks. That's when you want to get your seed set in the ground. For me, that's pretty much right now.
Start with seed potatoes; that means ones that haven't been treated to prevent sprouting. That also means they're disease free. Cut them into 2-inch chunks, leaving 2 eyes on each chunk.
As for soil, potatoes are very adaptable. Many books will tell you the exact soil conditions you need to grow them, but don't worry about that too much, they'll tolerate a lot. Just make sure the soil is loose so the roots can stretch out and grow into those tasty little tubers.
Trench down into the soil about 6 inches. If you make more than 1 trench row, make sure they're at least 2-feet apart. Crowding potatoes means a smaller yield. Lay seed potatoes in the trench about 12- to 15-inches apart, cut side down, and cover with a few inches of soil. They'll sprout a couple weeks later, and when they do, cover them again with a few more inches of soil. Covering them will build your rows up into a mound of loose soil, the mound is where the magic happens.
Keep the vines well watered during summer heat, while they're flowering, and while the blooms are dying off. After the blooms are gone you can ease up on the watering you do. Wait 2 weeks after flowering finishes to harvest and ta-da! You've grown potatoes!
Look how lush and green they are in flickr user ksuyin's New Zealand garden (picture below). Did you know potato plants were so pretty?
Alrighty now, who's ready for some hashbrowns?
This Mother Earth News article is informative and will answer many of your questions.If your short on space, try out the garbage can method Gayla Trail explains with easy-to-understand in-depth detail in Grow Great Grub.
Renee Garner has a passion to make things grow, although her brownish thumb wants her to believe otherwise. When mud pies aren't on the menu, you can find her doodling the days away at Wolfie and the Sneak.