Sunday, March 6, 2011


Potatoes just emerging.  This seems to happen rather quickly.  One day there is nothing and the next they are here!
Here they are leafing out.

Planting PrepPotatoes are easy to start. Just order your favorite variety or get them from the grocery store.  We have all had potatoes go bad and sprout on us.  Every eye is a potential plant. I like to have at least 2 eyes on each piece I plant.  Cut your potato with a few eyes per piece. After cutting, let the cut surface callus-over before planting them. Ground should be cultivated, but potatoes aren't too fussy.   They like to be put in the ground in cool weather, so spring is ideal.  Avoid using fresh manure or lime in the soil where potatoes are to be grown, as it tends to cause scab on the potatoes.

The ground should be around 5o degrees when you plant these.  Freezing is not good for potatoes and will most likely leave you sad about what doesn't come up!

Choose a new location in your garden for potatoes each year.  This way any lingering pests or disease are not present. Crop rotation is always advisable.  Potato plant leaves need full sun for the plant to mature. It is also critical that the tubers aren’t exposed to sunlight as they mature; new potatoes will sometimes rise to the soil surface as they develop. If the potato skin is exposed to the sun, it will turn green, and can be toxic, so be sure to cover potatoes if they are making their way to the surface.

SPACING - potatoes can be grown in many different ways. If you have lots of room the cut pieces can be spaced about a foot apart in rows which are spaced two to three feet apart. Then cover with about an inch of soil. Pull in additional soil as the plants develop. Always be certain the surface tubers are covered with soil.
Hilling or mounding is another method of growing potatoes. Three or four pieces of potatoes are planted on a mound of soil, pulling in additional soil as the potatoes develop.

WATERING - Black or hollow centers on potatoes is often caused by over-watering. Irregular watering causes irregular shaped or knobby potatoes. As a guideline, water potatoes (thoroughly) weekly during warmer summer weather.
HARVESTING - New young potatoes are harvested when peas are ripe or as the potato plants begin to flower. For storage of full sized potatoes harvest them when the vines turn yellow or have died-back.
STORAGE - Keep them in the dark, in a spot where temperatures are about 40 degrees.