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This is my first time growing potatoes.  Hopefully it will be a rewarding first-time experience.  I decided on red-potatoes and sweet potatoes.  In our area, red potatoes are ready to start now.  The sweet potatoes, I have read, are a bit of a warmer season veggie so I should wait until June to start those.  That said, I have begun the red potato process and thought I would share with you my experience thus far.

I ordered a 2lb bag of Red Norland Potatoes from Henry Fields Nursery.  I am not plugging them by any means, but I have had good success with them so far with everything I have purchased from them.  I have purchased asparagus roots and blueberry plants and both came to me in great condition and both have been  successful in their growth for me. I selected Red Norland potatoes as I read that they produce compact plants which are good for smaller gardens, which is what I have.  I have also read not to use grocery store potatoes for growing as they are treated with a growth retardant. Also it is good to use certified seed potatoes that are meant for producing eyes on potatoes

When I got the bag there were about a dozen small potatoes in the bag with eyes started on each of them.  You are not supposed to place the entire potato in the ground with more than 2-3 eyes on a piece potato.  What you do is cut the potato so each cutting has about 2-3 eyes per cut.  Each eye will produce a plant.

After I cut the potatoes, I placed them back in the bag to for a few days to heal and form a scab over the cut area.   After that they are ready to be planted.


Today, I was finally able to get them in the ground.  We have had so much rain this week that I was unable to plant them sooner.

To plant potatoes, you first need to dig a trench about 8" - 12" deep.  You then place your potatoes with the eyes facing up about 10" apart"

 

You then cover your potatoes with about 2-3" of dirt (you don't back fill in the trench completely)

I ended up with 4 rows of about 5 potatoes per row.

 

(I am saving the other half of the bed for some sweet potatoes.)  As the potatoes start to grow.  You are supposed to do something called "hilling".  Which is after the plants are 8-10" tall, use a hoe and pile several inches of soil up around the stems. The prevents exposure to the sun which causes tubers to become green and inedible.

Hopefully, they will do well.  I am so excited to see what happens next!

Views: 90

Comment by Allen Frost on April 12, 2011 at 7:34pm
That's some nice looking potato trenches.  Make sure to leave room for your sweet potato vines.  They go on forever.  I planted some in my garden last year and the vines were covering everything three rows over.  Good luck!
Comment by Shannon Floyd on April 12, 2011 at 7:58pm
Thank you for the advice, this is the first year that I am planting potatoes too :)
Comment by Jodie Westwood on April 13, 2011 at 12:05pm
I thought I had the best zinnias in town when I realized that what I had done, was plant with dirt from my compost pile.  I had potatoes growing in every planter.  I wish I had that much luck with a tomato.
Comment by Janine Roe on April 13, 2011 at 12:26pm

Hey Allen, thanks for the advise on the sweet potatoes...I had no idea that they vine.! uh-oh!

 

Jodie--that's pretty funny!

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