Potatoes

blue potatoes

Blue potatoes, cut and waiting to be planted

Time to get ready for potatoes. We are currently digging one bed deeper for the seed potatoes. This year, we will have one bed, about 30 feet long, 4 feet wide, 1 foot or more deep of potatoes. In this area, we usually say to have them planted before St. Patrick’s Day; it’s just a good reminder. So we are getting ready and they’ll be planted in the new bed.

Once you get your potatoes, and you can also buy organic potatoes from the grocery store too, as well as the nursery, keep them warm and in light so they will grow eyes. Once they grow eyes, cut the potatoes in pieces, with about 3 eyes per piece. Let the cut harden over, that takes a couple of days, and then plant, being careful not to knock the eyes off.

Last year we planted 5 per square foot and although it worked, I think this year we will plant only 4 per square foot. As they grow, gently pile on more compost or dirt to cover them. Don’t worry, they will grow through, creating more roots for more potatoes. You can grown them as deep or as high as you’d like. You can usually harvest in about 3 months. With Mel’s Mix, they are so easy to dig up, and easy to clean. Home-grown tomatoes are the best. I know, you may be saying, “A potato is a potato.” But believe me, they are best when you get them fresh from the ground.

There are tons of web sites with info on how to grow potatoes: here are a few:

Tipnut.com, How to Garden.com, Great Garden Info.com

Potato flower

Pests we have had to watch out for: the ever present gopher, and the weird and ugly potato beetle. I won’t post a pic here, they are ugly, but check them out on your search engine. Type in “potato bug old man” or “Jerusalem Cricket” and you’ll see what I mean. These guys are big too! So watch out for them.

You may enjoy this humorous blog post about how to get rid of them. Pretty funny, especially if you know these bugs personally. Yuk!!!

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9 responses to this post.

  1. There’s a major flaw in that potato bug eradication plan—what if your house has a septic tank? Who’s to say that years after flushing them away, an enormous army of sludge-mutated potato bugs will not chew out of your tank and advance on the capitol????

    We have successfully grown potatoes, and chickens will eat the potato bugs when they’re small. Once the bugs reach a certain size, they’ll eat the chickens. But as many KFC franchises have shown us, chicken goes well with potatoes.

  2. Posted by julie on February 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Ta Su for all the info!
    The blog is beautiful and very interesting!

  3. Posted by janice on February 12, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Great photos!

  4. Thanks for mentioning our site in your article on potato growing. I like your methods. Two questions: what is Mel’s Mix and where are you located? Thanks again!

    • Hi, Mel’s Mix is a mixture of 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 peatmoss. We are still tweeking the composition for all the veggies, but the potatoes seem to really like it. PLUS, it is so easy to harvest them. We are located in Shingle Springs, CA, about 35 minutes east of Sacramento, CA.

  5. Posted by Syria Low on February 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Never seen blue potatoes before. Hmmmm, interesting. 🙂

  6. Posted by jeff on March 17, 2011 at 4:57 am

    when mounding potatoes is it ok to cover up some of the leaves that have grown. Mine are about 6 inches high right now and I was wondering how much new compost or garden soil to use. Sounds like you can cover the leaves up, leaving some above the new soil with the new compost or soil and they will do just fine.
    Any help would be great as this is our first year growing potatoes.
    Also I am growing 1 plant in a large pot and 4 other plants in a raised bed.

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