Potatoes: Our Favorite Tubers!
Potatoes are a relatively easy crop to grow, and will yield delicious results. Read this blog post for easy directions for growing potatoes.
Potatoes are a relatively easy crop to grow, and will yield delicious results. Given a bad reputation by our love of frying them in various ways and their inexpensiveness at the grocery store, many people shy away from growing their own potatoes. However, one bite of a homegrown potato and you’ll wonder why you haven’t yet started your own potato patch. This past March the OEC planted German Butterball, Austrian Crescent, and All Blue potato varieties in the ground and in burlap sacs (demonstrating a vertical gardening especially useful for an urban gardener without a lot of space). Here’s a short how-to on potato planting in the ground:
Potatoes can generally be planted in March (once the danger of frost has passed) through June. Once you have purchased your seed potatoes (we recommend Irish Eyes Garden Seeds) and picked a growing location with full sun exposure, prep the soil of your potato bed. Ideal soil for potatoes is deep, light and loose, but the potato is also very adaptable and will usually produce quite respectably where soil conditions are less than perfect.
Once you have cultivated your soil and removed weeds, dig a trench 6 - 8 inches deep. Make sure that the trench is long enough so that you’ll be able to place your seed potatoes 10 - 12 inches apart. As you dig the trench, hill the soil on either side of it, creating two parallel mounds. Place your seeds in the trench and cover them with 3-4 inches of soil. When the stems are about 8 inches high, gently hill the vines up with soil scraped from both sides of the row with a hoe (notice: you’re weeding, too!). Leave a few inches of the vine exposed. Potatoes will now grow out of the main stem, between the seed potato you initially planted and the surface of the soil. Hill potatoes 2 - 3 weeks later and then 2 weeks after that (that's three hillings total). Once your potato plants have bloomed, you can begin to harvest small "new" potatoes, usually about eight weeks after planting.
After the foliage has begun to dry, turn yellow, and die back, your entire crop can be dug.
For a great how-to on planting potatoes in general, and using vertical methods watch this video from Garden Time.
View the slideshow below to see how we are growing potatoes in the OEC Demonstration Garden at Luscher Farm, or come out for a visit and see it for yourself!