Why You Should Grow Your Own Potatoes
As all potato lovers know, potatoes are almighty in the various shapes and forms they can take on. Whether you like them baked, fried into crisps, or even hashed into tater tots, there is always a type of potato for everyone. You may be wondering since potatoes are so well-loved and can become as essential as the rice on your dinner plate, can they be grown on your own? The answer is yes, and even better, it is as simple as three steps: planting, growing, and harvesting. All that is required to grow your own potatoes are sunlight, a constant supply of water, and the sprouted part of a potato planted in the ground known as seed potatoes. There will also be discussions on the alternative ways you can adopt to grow your own potatoes.
They Are Easy To Grow
Firstly, planting potatoes requires not much effort; the most important factor is the presence of the sun. In order for your potatoes to thrive, plant them in an area where they can receive the maximum amount of sunlight. To ensure that they grow under optimum conditions, make sure that they are in a good position to soak up at least six hours of warm sun rays daily. It is also best to plant tubers, which are also known as seed potatoes, along with the potatoes during spring when frost is last expected. Although small potatoes can be planted as they are, larger ones are best to be quartered before they are planted. Essentially, each quarter should carry an eye or a bud. Furthermore, to ensure that they do not rot, the quarters should be dried for a few days prior to planting. The seed potatoes should be planted a couple of inches deep in soil that is loose and well-drained, making sure to leave them in rows with gaps of 12 to 15 inches.
They Grow Quickly
Secondly, potatoes do not require much “growing”. However, it is still essential to do what you can to ensure that they bear a big crop size. Therefore, once the potatoes show signs of flowering and tubers are formed, they will need to be constantly watered in order for them to grow healthily. When the shoots surface from the soil and grow up to 8 to 10 inches, pile up several inches of soil surrounding the stem. This process is known as “hilling”, or “earthing up” and will guarantee that the potato crop grows. At a point in time, the leaves will start yellowing and withering. This is when you cease watering them and prepare for harvest.
Harvesting Depends on How You Like Your Potatoes
Thirdly, harvesting usually happens around 18 to 20 weeks after the potato seeds are planted. Depending on the way you want to consume your potatoes and the time you will take to do so, there are different ways to harvest your potatoes. It is important to remember to only cultivate enough if the potatoes will be consumed immediately. However, if the potatoes are going to be stored, it is best to not root them up until a few weeks after the onset of dieback. Harvesting can be done easily with a spading fork, taking care not to pierce the potatoes and letting the potatoes dry and cure on the ground for a couple of hours. After brushing off any lingering soil, they can subsequently be stored in a cool and dry area until the time to use them arrives.
The majority of potatoes will show signs of sprouting during the spring seasons when they are maintained under room temperature. However, the kind of potato will definitely make a difference depending on the outcome you wish for. For new potatoes like the small red ones, they are quick and exciting to grow. Meanwhile, large potato plants take more time to ripen and do not produce as well in places with hot weather.
Other Ways of Growing Potatoes
Alternatively, there are two ways you can grow your own potatoes that do not make use of the traditional planting of potato seeds. There is the potato-ception way, in which potatoes are grown from potatoes, and the container growing way. For the adventurous potato growers, these two alternatives will ensure that you still get potatoes freshly grown by your very own hands.
It is best to cultivate potatoes from potatoes that have been confirmed to be exclusively grown from a garden store that is verified to be disease-free. Since the potatoes bought from the grocery may have been prevented from sprouting with a sprout inhibitor solution, there will probably not be sprouts seen emerging in your pantry. In the case that the eyes of the potatoes are swollen, signifying sprouting, you just have to plant a small piece of the potato in a spacious pot that is covered with at least three inches of soil or into the ground and green shoots should be seen surfacing within two weeks. These green shoots will proceed to grow into plants, and after a couple of months, new baby potatoes will develop underground.
For those who wish to grow potatoes indoors or on the patio due to space constraints in the yard, it is vital, to begin with, a pot that is big enough and deep with sufficient drainage. Next, fill a third of the container you are using with potting soil, and sprinkle the seed potatoes before covering it with a thick layer of potting soil. Make sure to keep the pot under sunlight and well-watered at all times, and gather the potted potatoes as soon as they display about six inches of growth. Repeat the process until the pot is full and there you have it, your very own container-grown potatoes.
Some of the most common and most recognized kinds of potatoes are the long white, round white, round red, russet, and even sweet potatoes. With this seemingly endless list of potato types to explore, all the potato lovers out there can certainly rejoice! Since there are many delicious variations that potatoes can be made into, why not try growing your own potato patch today and ensure a never-ending supply of potatoes in your kitchen?