How To Plant Potatoes For A Year-Round Harvest

in #gardening5 years ago (edited)

There are some major benefits to planting potatoes in your backyard. You can plant varieties that are hard to find, or are very expensive, and you can harvest virtually all year long if you live in a climate like I do.

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The best way to plant potatoes is to start with certified seed potatoes. It's not a good idea to use the potatoes you find in the grocery store, because they're not certified disease-free and sometimes they're treated to prevent sprouting.

Notice these eyes, this is where the potato sprouts from.

First of all, we need to cut up the potatoes. Cut them into chunks with one to two eyes per chunk. The eyes are where the plant will start growing from the potato and should be planted pointing up. If shoots are starting to grow from the seed already, be sure not to break them when you cut the potato into pieces.

Small potatoes can be planted whole.

So lay the potatoes out in a well-ventilated area just for a couple of days, so that they callus over. This protects them from rotting in the ground once you plant them.

The potatoes should go from this look to this calloused overlook, and this will help prevent rot.

Plant potatoes early in the season, about 4 weeks before the last frost. The soil also needs to be at least 40 degrees, and potatoes can be fall planted after the first frost if they're protected from frost by a thick mulch.

In addition to weed-free soil, potatoes like sandy loamy soil with a low pH.

There are many different ways to grow potatoes, the only requirement is some way of burying them as they grow because as the tubers form they need protection from the light.

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When mulching potatoes make sure and use green waste compost, because animal manure can cause scab.

So we're going to plant the potatoes about one to two inches deep. Plant the pieces of potato with the eyes facing up, and as the potatoes grow I'm gonna add more of the compost mixture and be careful not to cover the top six inches of leaves.

Since I'm doing a late fall planting, I will dig out about an 8 inch deep trench. Plant potatoes about 8 to 9 inches apart, with rows about 3 feet apart. Remember to plant with the eyes up, cover the potatoes with about 4 inches of soil, and then we're gonna mulch heavily.

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Mulching will help protect from the frost. In the spring when the plants get to be about 4 to 6 inches tall, you can start to hill them up.

Before I mulch I run my chickens through the potato rows when the plants are well established and they weed the rows for me without eating the potato leaves. Raw potatoes are toxic to chickens, but they will eat all the weeds and leave the potato plants alone.

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Then I hill the plants and mulch them.

Hilling is important, no matter how you plant your potatoes. Tubers exposed to sunlight turn green and form the toxic substance called solanine. Never eat green potatoes!

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You can harvest the potatoes anytime after they flower, but only harvest what you can eat because they won't keep.

For winter storage potatoes, allow the vines to be killed by frost or scythe them down and leave the bed unwatered for two weeks. The two weeks allows the skin to harden for storing. This reduces peeling and rot in storage.

Use your hands to harvest - a sharp tool will cut into the potatoes. Let them dry for a couple of days in a cool, dark area like a garage, and then they're ready for winter storage.

I have also had success using chickens to harvest the potatoes for me, but if you're selling for market you shouldn't have any animal manure around your potatoes for at least 90 days before harvesting.

To harvest using chickens, I just add some chicken grain along the edges of the potato plants when I'm ready to harvest. The chickens will eat the grain and then start digging around the mulch near the plants looking for more grain.

They find worms in the mulch and keep digging until the potatoes are exposed. They may peck at a potato or two but leave most of them alone. You just have to make sure you pick up the potatoes each day before they get exposed to the sunlight or they will turn green.

Last summer I have a huge mound of potatoes and would feed the chickens there every morning, pick up the potatoes they dug up the day before as I grabbed the eggs they laid for breakfast. The chickens did most of the work.

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I hope you paid those hard working chickens. If I had room I would love to grow my own :)

They get lots of grain and room to scratch around in.
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No extras for being hard workers :)

At different times of the year they get to eat cover crops, kale, apples, tomatoes, spinach, corn, lettuce and all our kitchen scraps.

That will be there bonus for working hard. Clever chickens :)

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Imagine if you held those potatoes in sock. They could grow faster IMO.

This is fantastic dude. I've been an urbanite my whole life so these tips and tricks sound genius! Steem on!

Great post! There is no comparison to the deliciousness of potatoes you pull from the ground as compared to store bought!

Some of my favorite are fingerling potatoes.
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A friend of mine grew these last year, and they are exactly what came to mind when I saw your article. So good.

Very nice post, thank you!

We had a sweet potato sprout sitting on the kitchen island. Rather than throwing it away I chucked it on top of our 4 x 6 ft unplanted raised garden bed with the intentions of planting it somewhere. A few months later it was time for me to plant some broccoli and when I went to throw away the shriveled up old potato I found it had literally filled almost every inch of space under the soil with fully grown potatoes. I called everyone out of the house to help me dig them all up. I attribute it to old Miracle Grow soil from last planting still performed like a champ.

While I was reading this post, all I could thing about was Matt Damon in The Martian.

Hands down the best vegetable. I absolutely love potatoes.

They're delicious

this is amazing information!
I was especially fascinated by the fact that chickens will eat around the potatoes. That's so cool. :)
I've been meaning to plant a few potatoes in a bucket garden just to see how they do.

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