It’s easy to learn How to Grow Potatoes with this easy growing guide.
There is nothing like having organic spuds on hand to cook for supper whenever the family feels like eating them.
Growing them yourself is a great frugal way to save money on organic produce.
To get the freshest potatoes, they really need to be grown in the home garden.
Potatoes are certainly not hard to grow. You could simply throw some peelings with eyes on them into the garden and cover them over with dirt or straw.
But with a little more care, even more organic potatoes will be produced.
Instead of using peelings, buy gourmet seed potatoes from your favorite garden center.
Many varieties are available, even some that are actually deep blue or pink when cooked.
Often pink-skinned potatoes are chosen from the supermarket, but the flesh is still white when cooked.
But with these gourmet potatoes, the flesh is pink or blue and remains that way after cooking.
Imagine the children’s delight in finding colored mashed potatoes on their plates.
They could be a real talking point at that next dinner function, too.
But whether colored, white, or cream flesh varieties are chosen, potatoes are lots of fun to grow.
There are many different ways to grow potatoes.
The Traditional Way to Grow Potatoes
There are three parts to a potato plant:
- The roots that grow from the bottom of the seed potato.
- The underground stem between the seed potato and the top of the ground from which more potatoes grow.
- The leaves and stalk that are seen above ground.
Traditionally gardeners dig a deep trench, plant their potatoes seedlings and cover them over, then hill up the soil over the shoots two or three times as they emerge.
There are several reasons for hilling potatoes.
- It ensures a long stem from which the plant can set many potatoes.
- It also prevents the new potatoes from going green due to exposure to light.
- It helps to support the plant.
- It reduces attacks from potato moth caterpillars.
Potatoes are normally grown in rows about 15 centimeters deep and 75 centimeters apart.
The tubers should be about 35-40 centimeters apart in the rows.
If the bed is well-fertilized to start with, there is no need to add further fertilizer throughout the growing season.
However potatoes should be watered regularly so that they form well-rounded potatoes, free from blemishes.
Growing potatoes the traditional way takes up quite a bit of room in the garden, so if there is not much room, why not try a non-traditional method?
There are several methods for growing potatoes to choose from.
Growing Potatoes in a Pot
Make sure to choose a really big pot.
One potato plant should set several potatoes, and these need lots space to grow.
Fill it to one-third with potting mix or good soil, fertilize and then plant one to three tubers.
Cover with around 10 cm of soil and water gently. When the shoots appear, cover them again to about two-thirds the height of the pot.
Repeat this step until the pot is almost full of soil.
When the plant grows out of the last top-up, it will have a good long stem for setting potatoes.
It should be left in the pot until four weeks after the top dies down.
Most potatoes will flower before this happens, but some varieties do not flower, so if no flowers are seen, there will still be potatoes under the soil.
Growing Potatoes in a Tire
This is even easier than using a pot so long as you have the tires or can get them. You don’t even have to dig the ground.
Place sheets of newspaper on the grass, dampen them, place the tubers on top and circle them with one tire.
Fill to the top of the tire with soil or potting mix, making sure that it goes into the tire cavity.
When the potato shoot emerges, place another tire over the first one and fill it with soil or potting mix.
Do this again for the third time before letting the shoot sprout leaves. Again, let the leaves die off before looking for potatoes.
Growing Potatoes in a Bag
This is virtually the same as growing them in a pot or in tires.
The bag may be of hessian or plastic.
If it is of hessian, it may tend to dry out more quickly, so be careful to keep the water up to it.
Since a bag is not as stable as a pot, it may need to be propped up against something or have a few rocks around it for support.
Growing Potatoes in Straw
Straw can be used to grow potatoes too.
Simply place the tuber on the ground and keep on covering the shoot with layers of straw.
If the weather is hot, it will dry out quickly, so it must be kept moist.
This medium is best used in a cool to cold climate.
To prevent the straw from blowing or falling away, surround it with wire mesh of some kind, staking it in place.
Why It is Best to Buy Seed Potatoes
While it is possible to grow potatoes bought from the supermarket, freedom from disease cannot be guaranteed.
Virus diseases sometimes take two years to show up, and by that time, the soil will be affected and will never grow disease-free potatoes again.
Seed potatoes from a reputable seller are usually government certified to be free of virus disease, giving the gardener peace of mind that no disease will be imported into the soil.
Follow all of these tips and you’ll have great success growing your own potatoes.