Since it appears that spring is a bit early I decided to start prepping my garden and put my potatoes in this past weekend. The soil temperature here in Valatie in my garden is 50°. I love growing potatoes. My earliest memories of digging potatoes were with my grandmother in County Mayo ￼Ireland when I was 12. It seemed as though some of them were as big as my head. Potatoes are a staple in the Irish diet! They are fun to grow!
I start out by picking an area of my garden where I can keep the soil fairly acid with a pH of 4.8 to 5.5. I work the soil with broad-fork and hoe to loosen it. This year I have started out with a 30-foot row. That should give my husband and I enough potatoes to get us through the summer and into early fall.￼ I start by buying certified seed￼ potatoes. I like Kennebec‘s because they store well. We also like red Norland. You can buy them at most garden centers.
I start by cutting up the potatoes so that I have 2 to 3 buds per piece. Then I place them on a paper-lined tray so that they can cure overnight or a little longer. I put them in a paper bag and toss with a couple of tablespoons of sulfur powder being careful not to breathe any in. This will help to keep the fungus at bay and also acidify the soil a bit. Then I dig a 6-inch deep trench about 32 feet long. I place a piece of the potato at the bottom of the trench about every 6 to 8 inches. Then I pull the soil over the trench and wait until I see the first leaves pop through￼￼￼￼￼￼. I do side dress with organic fertilizer and extra phosphorus.￼ In a few weeks, I will hill up soil again. When the green shoots are about 8-10 inches tall I hill them again almost covering them up. ￼The vines will grow long and lush.
The plants will produce white flowers which is a sign that it is producing potatoes down below￼. Later in the season, I will watch for the potato vine to die back. Then I will know that they are ready to dig up and use.
I will plant a second row probably the first week of June to use for winter harvest. I don’t get many pests on my potatoes. About 40 years ago I had an awful infestation of Colorado potato beetles but I learned a secret from a farmer at the nursing home where worked. He told me to always plant a row or a block of green beans next to the row of potatoes and I would never have a problem again. He was right￼￼.
Potatoes can also be planted in raised beds and in potato sacks as well. I have included a short video of planting day. I hope I have inspired some of you to try to grow your own!!
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Dealing with the winters in the gardening trade. Apologies about the bad sound at the start…it does improve
Video Rating: / 5