Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How I grow potatoes....

You would be surprised how many people ask how to grow potatoes.  It's actually very simple.

  1. You dig a ditch.
  2. Put potato in ground.  Sometimes I cut them to get 2-3 eyes in a piece if they are big, otherwise just toss them in whole.
  3. Let the plant start to grow and get green and then pull the loose dirt that you pull out of the ditch back on the row covering the plants, this is called hilling.  Don't hill them too early or you will kill the plant.
  4. Now my soil is really rocky, so I only pull dirt 1 or two times.  After that they get a good healthy mulching with straw. 
  5. When the plants die back (don't be scared they are supposed to die off!), then you can start pulling potatoes.  You can start earlier but you won't get the yield you would if you let them go to full maturity.
So why the straw you ask?  Well, three reasons. 

First I can't really get too deep with my tiller even with the furrowing attachment, and we have lots of rock. 

Second, and one of my main reasons I do it, is to avoid bugs.  Believe it or not you will have far less if not almost eliminate the potato bug from your patch if you use straw mulch.  They hate trying to get through the mulch to get to the plant.

And lastly, mulching anything keeps the moisture in.  Have you ever mulched your flower beds with a good thick layer of mulch?  Go dig down in that stuff and see how moist the soil is.  I never watered my garden this year, although we got a good amount of rain, but where the mulch was the plants flourished.   Mulch, it's a good thing.  LOL!

I didn't fence my potatoes this year and the deer did not bother them.  I know they are poisonous but I have heard others say they had deer damage.  They seem to not bother mine as much as other plants.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Potato time..............

At planting time I planned on only growing 10 pounds each of Yukon and red potatoes.  The place I purchased them from only had a 5 pound bag of Yukon potatoes, but they had a white variety.  Hmmmmm....what to do.  So I purchased 5 pounds of Yukon, 10 pounds of Red Norland and 5 pounds of Superior White potatoes.

To date I have completely harvested the Yukon gold.  Yield......38 pounds.  Is that good or bad?  For me that's great considering last year I planted 5 pounds of Yukon potatoes and got about 3 potatoes back.  The rest died.  I don't know why, sadly.

I have also pulled about 4 plants of the reds and 2 plants of whites.  Yields so far are 8 pounds of red and just under 6 pounds of white.  But the reds were pulled before the plants died back so they were a little early.

I canned my Yukons.  I tried last year to store potatoes in my basement.  What a joke...those stinkers just started sprouting.  Ugh!  So this year I canned them.  I plan on canning the rest and giving some away to neighbors and maybe trying to dehydrate some for later use as well.

I canned approximately 25 pounds of potatoes give or take and after removing bad spots and blemishes the yield was 17 pints and 5 quarts of canned potatoes.

And I couldn't resist this morning.  I made potatoes and onions for breakfast.  Wow!  Way better than you get at any store.....  One more reason to grow your own!