Sunday, March 28, 2010

Planting Potatoes

For us in Oklahoma it is time to plant cool season plants, one of which is potatoes. You can purchase seed potatoes by the pound at local agricultural stores, nurseries and home improvement centers. Potatoes you buy from the grocery store can not be used, they have been treated not to sprout. Seed potatoes are treated to be disease free. They can be planted in the ground or in containers.

You want to plant your potatoes in loose, well drained soil in a sunny  location. Plant when the ground is not wet. Cut your potatoes so you have 2-3 eyes on each piece, after you cut them let them callus over for a day. This will help to keep them from rotting in the ground. Plant 5-6 inches deep, as potatoes start to grow they need to be hilled. Use a hoe to bring soil around plants, this is gives the potatoes plenty of room to grow and be productive. It is a necessary and constant chore but worth it. 
The past few years we have planted potatoes in our garden but this year I decided to use an old tub. My yield won't be many but our garden spot is small and I wanted other vegetables. 

A few years ago my son planted red, white and blue  potatoes in the same tub along with 5 gallon buckets.  If you don't have much space this a great way to grow some of your own produce. Place 5-6 inches of soil in bottom of bucket, trash can or any tall container. Make sure there are drain holes in the bottom of anything you use. Put pieces of potatoes 5-6 inches apart on top of soil and add 3-4 inches of soil, make sure potatoes are covered well. Water. As potatoes start to grow, continually add soil until you reach the top of your container. After the tops of your plants die off it is time to harvest, it will take 2-4 months.  It was a great learning experience for my son.
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