Before planting expose seed potatoes to light to start shoots growing.Let the cut pieces dry for a few days before planting or else they will probably start rotting.As potato shoots start to appear, cover them up with soil from either side of the trench.'Hill up the crop' this way a few times in the first four or five weeks of growth, which gives the potatoes an nice loose mound of soil in which to grow.Using container growing you can produce potatoes in any handy space, even on balconies.Spread your seed potatoes on top of the newspapers about 30cm apart, trying to get the shoots pointing upwards.As the potatoes start to grow through, add more layers of mulch material and keep watered.As the potato shoots start to grow through, cover up with more compost and mulch mix and keep watered.For both no-dig and container growing, keep the mulch well watered - wet enough to stick to your fingers but not sopping. .

When To Plant Potatoes In Your Area

Potatoes are one of those great crops that can be grown many different ways, and are pretty easy to grow.For potatoes, traditional wisdom holds that you should plant them when the dandelions start blooming.Traditionally this turns out to be near Saint Patrick’s Day, which is fairly easy to remember!If you live in a hot area, make sure you plant early enough that you can get a crop in before the heat starts!Potatoes need 15-20 weeks before they are ready to harvest, so you can calculate the last possible planting date if you know the typical temperatures in your area.If your area gets hotter than 95, plant your potatoes so they have long enough to mature before the heat hits.If you live in colder areas, you may still be able to grow a second crop of the year with the use of season extenders such as row covers or greenhouses. .

How to Plant Potatoes

They don’t even have to be labor intensive, and can be grown in pots for those utilizing small spaces.I was able to harvest those volunteers and eat some decent sized tubers.You can even plant potatoes from your pantry, but make sure to use organic ones, because conventional ones have been treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting.I was very excited to officially plant potatoes this year and grow some of these fun colors.Apparently my potatoes were excited to grow too, because they sprouted like crazy despite being in a cool dark cupboard all summer.My first step was to pull out all the potatoes I had found out of the various kitchen cupboards I had stashed them in.Sometimes I can be really lazy, like not measuring, and leaving wet, muddy, baling twine laying around.As they develop tubers, cover the potatoes up with dirt or mulch because sun will turn them green and then they are poisonous.Apparently straw alone isn’t acidic enough for good tuber formation.The very next day after I planted all my potatoes I had two chickens hop the fence and work very diligently to dig them all up.Expose your seed potatoes to light for a few days to start sprouts.Harvest as they grow, or wait until fall for bigger tubers. .

How to Plant and Grow Potatoes

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Gardening in Zones 7, 8, 9 or 10

Northern gardeners may grumble about the long winters, but that cold weather does a lot to minimize insect and disease problems.A local plant nursery, family-owned hardware store or farm stand can be a valuable resource for practical knowledge that it would take years to gain on your own.These crops include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, turnips, kale and collards.Then, in April, plant the warm-season crops: beans, cucumbers, eggplants, okra, peppers, squash and tomatoes.In places like Arizona, gardens at higher elevations should be planted later in the spring and earlier in the fall.In extremely hot weather, plants absorb and release moisture to stay cool.Mulching pathways and open spaces around plants is critical, as it minimizes moisture loss from the soil surface.Compost improves the soil?s moisture-retaining capacity, acting like a sponge to hold water until your plants need it. .

Zone 8

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Growing Potatoes in North Texas

Give the humble potato (Solanum tuberosum) a place in your vegetable garden.“A nutritional mother lode, potatoes are easy to grow as long as they have full sun, moderate temperatures, and light, rich, acidic, well-drained soil.Try varieties with colors, shapes and flavors you won’t find in the supermarket.” (Cornell University Vegetable Growing guide).A bit of powdered sulfur (antifungal) mixed with moist peat moss or saw dust, can be used for longer term storage of the cut potatoes if needed.Small seed potatoes can be left whole or cut once depending on the eyes and weight.Cuttings that weigh approximately two ounces are considered best because smaller potato seeds may not have enough energy reserve to support growth.Note: Approximately 3 pounds of seed potatoes are needed for two – fifteen foot rows.Potatoes can be grown in a raised bed home garden, in field rows and in containers.Photosynthesis for sugar to form potatoes needs mildly cool to warm temperatures to grow well.As daytime temperatures reach or exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit (F) each day (around the first of June in North Texas), most sugar storage stops in potato plants.In the Dallas – Fort Worth and Denton areas, the average date for the last frost is the 20th – 25th of March.The 15-5-10 will move down into the soil with watering and rain as the potato grows and is better for stem and leaf production.Too much water enlarges the pores on the tubers and makes them rot easily in storage (Joseph Masabni, Assistant Professor and Extension Horticulturist, The Texas A&M University System “Easy Gardening Potatoes“).Prepare a field that is well drained and do not plant potatoes in low places where water will stand.Laying by: As potato plants reach 6 to 8 inches above the soil, side dressing can be done with 15-5-10 fertilizer and about 2 more inches of dirt can be pulled up to the growing vines while pulling the fertilizer (side dressing) to the row using a row former.Harvest: Using a row splitter, run about 10 inches deep to turnout and expose the potatoes.Irish potatoes should be air dried at a temperature of 75 to 85 degrees F. in a dark area with good humidity 75% or greater.To allow proper curing, potatoes need air circulation but no long term exposure to light.Home & Garden Information Center, HGIC 1317 Potato, Clemson Cooperative Extension.Guest contributor: Nat Mills Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Biology at Texas Woman’s University.He grew up on a farm in South Central Kentucky where the family raised several garden vegetables each year. .


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