Thursday, May 26, 2011

Growing Container Potatoes...


Every Mother's Day I do the same thing and receive the same thing. Some might find it boring, but for me, I get what I want...so, it works out well. Each year, we head to our local gardening center {Gilbertie's, for the locals reading this here blog} and I get to go hog wild buying my plants for the season. Then, we come home and my 3 mens get busy helping me in the yard all day. It ends up being a back breaking day for me {and them} and the older I get, the more I'm reconsidering my Mother's Day pastime.
But, to get to the point...while there this year, I saw they had a display of burlap potato sacks, with seed potatoes and everything else you needed to get started. The burlap bag was like $2 and the seed potatoes were pretty cheap too. I had a container I could use to hold the bag and the soil...so, I decided to go for it.

This is my first time growing potatoes...so, please don't trust me on this. We'll see come Fall how I managed. Based on my research, there are many ways people go about the task. Some cut the potatoes into pieces, each containing an eye. Some let the sliced potatoes scab over, forming a tough skin where the cut marks are. Some let them sprout before they plant.
Then some, like me, don't do any of that.
I started with buying the "seed potatoes", a.k.a. potatoes that have not been sprayed with an anti-sprouting retardant. I placed a burlap bag {i.e. an old coffee sack} in a large container. It can be any container {I've heard even a garbage bin will do}. Then, I poured in some soil...I recommend Coast of Maine potting soil, or similar organic composted soil. I also mixed in a bit of time-released fertilizer.
I placed the potatoes in the soil. Mine were sprouting by the time I finally got around to planting them, but I did leave them whole. Lastly, I covered them with another layer of soil and gave them a light watering.
There is also a method called, "hilling", where you add about 2-3" of soil over the potatoes. When the stem reaches about 6" high, you add another 2-3" of soil {covering the leaves and stem}. You continue doing this a few more times, then just leave them be. This method will produce a larger crop.
From what I've read, they should stay damp, but not overly so. They will be ready to harvest in the Fall when the foliage has shriveled up and nearing it's end.
Stay tuned...

3 comments:

raquel.erecipe said...

wow there is a sprout growing there, after that where are you going to place it? is that staying there until it matured? well I kind a curious I am don't have a magic hand in planting.
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kate said...

raquel-
I just covered them with a few inches of soil and yes, that's where they will stay until mature. It's my first time growing them, so we'll see how it goes!

raquel.erecipe said...

I have a back yard but as I said I don't possess magic hands in planting, I will asked my husband plant it for me =) thanks for the reply.

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