Potatoes also made a spot in the ‘dirty dozen’ list and it’s one of the most frequent, too. We know that fruits and veggies from the said list tend to be submerged in harmful chemicals. Thus, they can be hazardous to one’s health.
The good news is you can actually grow your own potatoes. By doing so, you do not only save money but also gain therapeutic benefits in gardening. Here are some tips and methods we would like to share in growing potatoes.
Time. In warmer climate zones, potatoes can be planted and grown as winter crop. The best timing for planting should be before the last frost which is about two weeks prior to it. During summer, you should also monitor them since they are more likely to get sunburned. Additionally, if you will use cut potato tubers, do it 1-2 days ahead of target time.
Soil.The best soil where you can plant your seed potatoes* or cut tubers is an acidic one.
(Note: Seed potatoes are pieces or whole small potatoes with about 2 eyes per piece.)
Germination. Prepare soil by spreading and mixing rotted manure or organic compost at the bottom of the trench before planting. You can also dust seed potatoes with sulphur before actually planting them. Plant seed potatoes maintaining 1’ apart in a 4” deep trench with the ‘eye’ side up.
Tending.Potatoes become healthy in well-drained, loose soil; hence, the sandy type is best for this plant. Water them regularly when the tubers start to grow since they badly need moisture. Also, do hilling method (hoeing dirt up around the potato plant’s base to cover the root and support the plant itself. This will also help your plant from getting sunburned. Pests like aphids, flea beetles, leaf hoppers and potato scab are common pests seen when the soil is a sandy type. They are the reason why you need to dust your seed potatoes with sulphur before planting them.
Harvesting. Potatoes should be ready for harvest after 10 weeks. You can dig potatoes during a dry day but be careful not to puncture the tubers. Harvest them before the vine dies or they will rot with the vines.