I’ve been so busy in the garden lately, I haven’t had time to write about what I’m planting and how I’m doing it. I’ll attempt to catch up a little tonight. One of the things I’ve planted this week is potatoes. Here’s what I did…
First of all, I didn’t realize that at least a day before you plant potatoes, you have to cut the seed potatoes up and let them “heal over” to help prevent decaying. You can leave them cut up to 10 days before planting.
Here is what the seed potatoes looked like:
Really, they are regular potatoes that have been left sitting and the eyes have begun growing. To prepare them to be planted, cut each potato in half or quarters, making sure that each piece has an eye on it, like this:
When you go to plant the potatoes, make sure to put the cut side down and an eye facing up. This will help the plant get established properly.
I’ve read in my books a couple of different methods for planting potatoes, so I thought I’d give two different ways a try and see which works best for me.
The first row I planted was using a deep hole method. Using a post hole digger, I dug 10 holes 12″ deep, spacing them 12-18″ apart. You’re supposed to put 2″ of compost in the bottom of the hole, but I didn’t have any, so I didn’t put anything. The theory is that if you dig a deep hole, and just fill it in a little every time the plant starts growing up, it will save time and effort in the long run.
So, once my holes were dug (the project I had been working on in between chasing my chicken) Jada was sweet enough to help me place a cut seed potato in each hole. As she planted she said, “Mommy! This is like burying treasure!” I said, “You’re right, baby! And in a few months we can be pirates and dig it up again!” I was glad she enjoyed it, she saved me from a lot of bending! Once they were all in we covered them over with 2″ of dirt and watered them.
Then it was on to the next set. I spaced the rows of potatoes 24″ apart from each other.
The next two rows I did using the traditional mounding method. Using a hoe I dug a trench about 3″ deep.
Next we placed the potatoes in the trench, cut side down and eye side up, 12-18″ apart. Titus toddled over and wanted to get in on the action too, so I let him help.
Once they were all in place, we covered the trench back over with dirt, and watered it. I used wooden stakes to mark the rows.
I ended up planting 5 lbs. of Yukon Gold potatoes (36 pieces) in these three rows. As the plants grow, you’re supposed to mound the dirt up around the plant to keep the “tubers”, or baby potatoes, protected from the light which will damage them if exposed.
Can’t wait to see how they do!
If anyone has any tips or advice for me, as always I’d love to hear from you!