It is always best to get new seed potatoes in the spring in the year so as not to carryover diseases. They can be found at most garden centers and hardware stores in many different varieties. If you want more varieties you can order them from your seed catalogs, or online.
If you start with whole seed potatoes you can just plant the whole thing, but if you buy the full sized potatoes you should cut them up so they have two or three eyes on each piece. If you do cut them you should let them dry out for a day or two to scab over, or dip the cut ends in powdered sulfur. This will prevent them from rotting. Once you have your potatoes ready to plant you should dig a trench 8 inches deep, and work in some balanced fertilizer down the row. Then plant your potatoes about a foot apart in the trench. Rows should be placed three and one half to four feet apart.
Once your potatoes start to grow and get to be about six inches to eight inches tall you should hill the dirt up around them to produce more potatoes along the stems. While the potatoes are forming you want to make sure you get an inch of water per week. If it doesn’t rain water them.
As your potatoes grow you want to watch for potato beetles because they can strip all the leaves off your potatoes and greatly hurt their productivity. If you spot any potato bugs you should look for the eggsacs underneath the leaves and squish them before they hatch out. If you have a bad infestation you can use a natural method of which is to pick them off by hand and squish them or you can buy pesticide at your garden center.
When the tops of your potatoes have died down it’s time to dig them. This is where good garden fork helps. The main concern here is to dig far enough away and deep enough so as not to pierce the potatoes. After you have dug your potatoes out of the ground you should rub off any loose dirt and allow them to dry for two or three hours in the sun. Don’t leave them outside too long or they will start turning green become in edible.
To store your potatoes use a ventilated box or crate, I use an old metal milk crate. Place a layer of dry clean newspaper down on the bottom, and then a layer of your potatoes, and then another layer of clean dry newspaper until the box is full.the layers of newspaper prevent a bad potato from starting to rot and spreading throughout the entire container. Then place them in a dark cool slightly damp place for storage.
If you plant a variety of potatoes you’ll notice that some types are long keepers and others are best for new potatoes. The ones that are best as new potatoes should be used right away, because they don’t store well. The long keepers can be stored all winter if you have the proper conditions.
So get out and grow some potatoes, and try some more varieties than the three or four that they sell in the grocery store. There are many different sizes, shapes, textures and colors that you will never see at the grocery store. If you have any problems questions or concerns please contact FarmerDavesGarden.com at our Contact Us page or through our Blog.
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