Thursday, May 2, 2013

How to Grow Potatoes

The weather here in eastern Oregon has been FABULOUS! Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to get ANYTHING planted......Until today!

I'm always amazed at how few gardeners I talk to grow potatoes. Maybe it's space limitation. OR....maybe they just don't realize how stinkin' easy it is to grow potatoes!

I thought I'd walk you through the basics. Keep in mind, I'll update this throughout the growing season......I just wanted you to get started....

Part one-Planting:

First, dig a trench about 12 inches deep and at least as wide as your shovel. Just leave the soil that came out of your trench piled up alongside the trench.

See all those mistake by putting the garden too close to the raspberry bed. Now the raspberries want to migrate into my garden. A little root pruning will do them good.

I usually just plant "drop seed" potatoes. These are small potatoes with one or two "eyes". The "eyes" are where the plant will come out......Put that part up. Even if you plant them upside down the plant will still work it's way toward the sun. I know. I've done it!

These red potatoes are a little over-grown, but we LOVE red potatoes, so I'm going to plant them anyway.

Set the potatoes in the bottom of your trench about 6-12 inches apart. Mix compost with the soil that came out of the trench (about 50/50 mix). and put it over the potatoes just enough to cover the potatoes (DON"T fill in the trench just yet).

Water well and keep soil moist.

In about two weeks we'll start to see the plants emerge. Make sure to join me for your next steps!

Part two-Hilling:

It's been a few weeks now and the potatoes are up well.

The KEY to growing potatoes is to have a Lo-o-o-o-ng stem under the ground (between the top of the plant and the root). The longer that stem is, the more potato production you will get. How do we achieve that? Hilling! Basically, you're going to cover the plant with soil (again, I like to mix it with compost-50/50-makes for easier digging at harvest) right up below the top set of leaves, covering the stem.

Just keep doing this as the plant grows. I can almost TASTE those potatoes now!

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