Thursday, April 25, 2013

Planting Potatoes

After seeing our neighbors potato crop last year, we were inspired to plant our own this year. Having never grown them, I asked our neighbor how she does it. The answer was very straightforward and simple. Could it really be that easy?

First, we went to our local CoOp and bought 3lbs (each) of Yukon Gold and Kennebec seed potatoes. Did we need 3lbs? Probably not, but at $0.40/lbs why not get extra, just incase.

Next, we cut them into pieces, making sure each piece had a good eye or two.

After discarding the rotten ones and the cut pieces without good eyes, we ended up with 54 Kennebec and 58 Yukon Gold chunks ready for planting. Some say its best to let them sit to "heal over" a day or two after cutting, I let them sit half a day.

These will be planted in our main garden. We planted half this patch last year (expanded it last fall) and planted a winter blanket of wheat, rye, and clover - so this soil is much nicer than the Children's Garden, where we planted our early crops.

Some plant potatoes in hills, I planted in rows. I like straight rows, so I used and aid to get them (almost) perfect. Spacing the potatoes in the row depends on the size of full grown potato you want to harvest, a regular size potato is typically spaced 12-15" apart. To keep even numbers, I planted 30 chunks in a row at 12" apart. Two full rows of each, and a third row half and half. So the total planting is 90 potatoes. (With 2-3 potatoes per plant, we should hopefully have a good yield.)

I put hay - no correction - straw (yes there is a difference) down between the rows for two reasons:
1) To keep the weeds down.
2) Help show my son where it is safe to walk in the garden.
I did not water them. Some say its good to, some say the cut potato has enough moisture already for Spring planting (Fall may be another story).

I will eventually put straw between all rows, but will wait until I plant the rest. Pole beans will go on the back side (left in photo) on climbing structures, and bush snap beans immediately in front of the potato row (right in photo). Then the rest of this bed will have tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, and eggplant.

The brood checking things out...I told you they follow me around!

Pumpkin is always very helpful (at keeping my feet warm)!
But in all honesty, they are being helpful. We discovered a large underground city of voles, which can cause extensive damage to our Apple Orchard. The barn cats (and Genny our dog) are playing a crucial role in their extermination.

How do you plant potatoes?
This was shared at the Farm Girl Blog Fest.

-Live Simple, Be Happy-
Magnolia Holler

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