16 Apr How to Grow Potatoes
Finally! Spring has finally sprung on the Mid-Atlantic coast! Boy has it been a rough winter for us east coasters this past winter. But after the dry and extremely hot summer that we had last year, (which I don’t mind-I love the heat!) I knew we were in for it with old man winter. The continual rain, flooding, dreary and dark days, and the never-ending blustery winds put a hurtin’ not only on the plants and my poor garden, but I definitely know it did a number on a lot of our emotional and mental states.
So I was bounding with excitement this week to see the weather forecast say we were going to have unseasonably high temperatures this week and lots of sunshine! So skipping the trip to the doctors for a happy pill, I went out rubbed some dirt on myself and soaked up some serious Vitamin D. Now it’s the end of the week and it’s still 80+ degrees out and I’ve been planting, digging, weeding, and hoeing away. But with the ground still soaking wet after months of torrential down pours I decided to find alternative way to plant some potatoes.
I got some old, used coffee burlap sacks, (They actually still smell like coffee!) grabbed some compost and garden soil, and ordered some potato seed from my friends at the local organic farm. (They buy bulk so if you let them know when they’re ordering-they may be able to buy extra for you and save you a couple dollars!) I put them in a cool, dark place till they started to sprout, and then planted them inside the burlap bags.
So, if you want to save some room to try something new this year or you just don’t have room to grow potatoes, this is the perfect way to add some space your garden, grow your own food, and try something easy and new this year.
• Find/Buy used burlap coffee sacks-(local coffee houses will have them)
• Make sure you have potato seed-organic is better (using the g-store bought ones are sprayed with a chemical to keep them from sprouting fast)
• Garden Soil
• Roll the sacks down till they’re 6-8 inches tall
• Add soil and compost into bags (**to save soil tuck the edges under)
• Place 4-6 sprouted potatoes into the bags (depending how large your bags are)
• Make sure sprouts are facing up
• Cover with a layer of soil and water well (don’t over water, your potatoes will mold with too much moisture)
• As the shoots start to grow-unroll the burlap to grow with the plants
• Add more compost, continue till plants have fully matured
• The stalks will turn brown and start to dry out, then you know it’s time to harvest!! (usually July for my growing region 7-B)
• Gently dig out the potatoes-store them in a cool, dark place.
***Remember to keep them watered well, burlap dries out quickly! Here’s to warmer days filled with sunshine, lots of gardening, and of course good food!
• 7 Tips for Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden (www.getrichslowly.org)
• Reasons to Grow Your Own Vegetables (www.southernliving.com)
• Growing Potatoes (http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/factsheets/gg9.php