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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Preparing for the potato

March is the best time for potato planting in the Heartland. If you haven't yet, you might want to go out and pick up seed potatoes. You can find local seed potatoes in your locally owned family hardware store, or create your own with grocery store bought {though this is a gamble}, or catalog orders. There are over 1,000 species of potatoes to choose from.

There are several ways to plant and grow your potatoes. We tried the common in the ground method, but it failed us two years in a row. We decided on using the lazy bed last year and had great results.

To start, make sure you are not planting in the same area as tomatoes or eggplants did the year before. Potatoes do not like rich soil, so no fertilizing! Or if you are going for the container method; Plant your seed potatoes in the bottom of a tall container, like a clean garbage can or barrel. Place about 6" of soil in the bottom first and then spread out your seed potatoes, usually you will use about five seed potatoes for this. Keep adding soil or mulch as the plants get taller. {I have done this in an old bassinet}

Potatoes like water, so make sure they stay hydrated, about an inch a week.

You do not want to allow the tubers to be exposed to sunlight. Exposure means green skins that can be slightly toxic. DO NOT EAT THEM!

To keep your recently cut up seed potatoes from rotting in the ground, keep them out overnight to callus.

Once your plants have flowered and the stocks have dried up and died, it is time to carefully dig them up. If heavily mulched in a barrel or lazy bed, you can winter store them where they lay.
preparing new potatoes for canning

Have any growing suggestions? Or what species of potato are you growing this year? I am going with several types, my favorite of which is the Yukon golds.

Update on my father; he is going into open heart surgery this morning.


Anonymous said...

My spuds are chitting on the kitchen window sill, then I'll plant them out on a nice dry day. Hydration won't be a problem here!
I have a bag of blight resistant Sarpo Mira potatoes which we are trialing for Kitchen Garden magazine, I'm so excited!

Cheryl said...

Sending along good thoughts for your father!

The Fool said...

Prayers for pops, and a hug for you. Hang in there, folks.

Anonymous said...

Prayers and thoughts for your family at this time.
Take care,

Gina said...

More hugs and blessings for your father's surgery. Take care.

Stephanie Appleton said...

Yukon Golds are my favorite, from the store that is! :)

Still haven't decided if we are planting potatoes this year. I'm hoping to get some work done this weekend on garden type stuff.

That is good news for your father right? That he is strong enough for the surgery.

Moonwaves said...

Hi there

Hope everything with the surgery goes/went okay.

I'm hoping to do potatoes this year. I'm going to try them in old tyres (note to self to stop and visit my mechanic this week to see if I can get some old tyres). You fill the middle of one tyre with soil and plant the potanto into that. As the plant grows above the soil you add another tyre and top up with soil. Apparently you'll need four or five tyres height. And at the end no digging, just pull the tyres apart (which will make a mess of soil but still, easier than digging). That's the theory anyway.

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