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Potato Planting Time!

 

Seed Potatoes.  The two smaller ones can be planted whole.  The larger ones will be cut into two or three pieces, each one with an eye.

Now is the time for Potato Planting! 

A few days ago I ordered online organic Yukon Gold seed potatoes.  They should be here on Monday.  Then on Saturday, I stoped by Rhodes, one of our locally owned nurseries here in Garland, Texas, and purchased the seed potatoes shown in the photo above.

Required Materials and Conditions:
1.  A wire cage. You can make a cylinder of chicken wire.
2.  A sunny spot ideally where a raised bed is located.
3.  At least 15 gallons of soil.  [A recommended mix is 1/3 vermiculite; 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost.]
4.  Seed potatoes. [Note: these are potatoes that were grown to be seed stock. You can purchase them at your local feed store.  Do not use potatoes you purchase at the supermarket as they may come with issues such as fungi.  The seed potatoes have to be prepared ahead of time.  The slips should be at least the size of a chicken egg.  The chunks cut off the potatoes should have at least two eyes.  Allow the cut pieces to dry about 24 hours prior to planting.  This reduces issues with fungal problems. The cut surface should have a callous after drying out.]
5. Straw  [I got a bale for about $9.00 at our local Roach Feed store here in Garland, Texas.  Below is a photo of it sitting in my dining room.  Don't get hay as it is full of weed seeds.]
 
 
 
INSTRUCTIONS for growing potatoes:
1. Put the wire cage on top of soil in a raised bed.
2.  Put the seed potatoes on top of the garden soil inside the cage and cover with four inches of soil.  Allow 10 to 12 inches between each potato.
3.  In about 2 weeks green foliage should protrude from the soil.  When the green tops are 6 to 8 inches tall, cover up to within 2 inches of the foilage with a mixture of two parts straw to one part compost.
4.  Note:  Make sure to keep the developing potatoes covered.  If they are exposed to sunlight, the potatoes turn green and become slightly toxic.
5.  During the growing period, you will need to repeat steps 3 and 4 two or three times.  Potatoes mature in 60 to 130 days depending on the variety.
6.  Stop adding soil and straw when the plants start to flower.  You might even be able to pull back the cover and harvest a few new potatoes at this time.
 
Sunday, February 9, 2014