We decided kind of last minute to grow potatoes this year. When we opened a 10 pound bag that I had gotten from the store (and forgotten about) and everyone of them was already growing we decided to take them to the garden.
Everything I’ve read said don’t plant potatoes you buy from the store as they may have been sprayed with a growth inhibator. Well, let’s just say I sometimes have to learn by experience rather than example – remember the green beans.
We have a plot of beautiful plants and they are starting to flower. So far, so good. Time will tell.
What I’m learning about growing potatoes:
- Potatoes like loose sandy soil – if you have clay soil, you will need to break it up with peat moss and compost and maybe even buying some sand
- Not too much compost or nitrogen or else you’ll get large green tops and no bulbs.
- For seed potatoes, cut each one in half or in quarters making sure that each part has an “eye” and some potato to nurish the plant
- You can cure them in the sun for a few days so that they don’t rot in the ground (I didn’t do this, but is probably a good ideas, esp.if you have clay for soil.)
- Keep well watered – don’t let them dry out and flood them
- Keep the potatoes covered with soil – the plants grow and begin making bulbs continue to mound up soil around them and they will make more potatoes
- Don’t let the potatoes be exposed to the sun. If they get green spots on them, they will contain a poison called solanine. You should never eat potatoes with green spots or feed them to your animals. (this is from All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook)
Pests and problems:
- Probably the biggest pest is the Colorado Potato Beetle (a beetle without a black head gets squished). We haven’t seen signs of this at all. They will lay a cluster of orange eggs on the underside of the leaves. These also need to get squished
- Use a 3 year rotation – don’t plant where other nightshade plants have been planted during the last 3years. Nightshade plants are tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.
Havesting and Storing:
- You can harvest “new” potatoes at anytime during the growing season
- Harvest potatoes for storage once the plants have died back
- Leave them outside in the shade for a few days before storing them.
- Store in burlap bags or in buckets of sand in cool dry place
Anything else I need to know?
This post is linked to Tuesday Garden Party.