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Gardening

What I’m Gardening This Week: Potatoes!

Around here in KC, the risk of frost is just about over and all my cold-weather crops are in the ground and starting to emerge. In our zone (6a), we typically lost the risk of a hard freeze on April 15th, so here we go with the last round of plantings until the big push around Mother’s Day: POTATOES!

There are two ways you can go about planting potatoes: Seed Potatoes you buy or ones that you create yourselves.

When a potato sprouts an “eye,” it’s actually the beginnings of a seed that you are able to replant in the spring to grow a whole new crop of potatoes. If you plan early enough, purchase organic potatoes that haven’t been sprayed with chemicals to halt the eyes from sprouting. Now let the potatoes sit and sprout.

Cutting

Whether you’ve turned your own seeds or you’ve purchased seed potatoes at your local nursery, it’s now time to cut the potatoes into quarters and let sit out for a day or two to callus. I like to quarter my potatoes so there is at least one sprout on each piece, and ones that are relatively close to one another to allow for them to grow as one.

When my pieces are cut, I set them outside on a small tray to allow the sunshine to callus the potato and harden the skin. If you skip this step, you run the risk of your seed potato simply rotten under ground. Don’t skip this! πŸ™‚

You’ll know when they are ready to be planted when the cut sides are now tough and leathery as the outside.

Planting Tips

  • Potatoes like to have a 50/50 combination of soil and compost in a well-drained, rock free location
  • Dig a hole 4-6 inches deep and place the seed potato so the sprout if facing upwards
  • Plant about 2 feet apart
  • Potatoes require regular watering, so be sure to keep up with watering as the hotter days approach
  • When the plants reach to 5-6 inches tall, create a hill of dirt around the base to prevent any of the potatoes from growing up above the dirt and getting sun – they will not survive if any of the underground potatoes come above ground
  • Mulch can be added to the hill to help retain moisture for the plant
  • Potatoes can be harvested about 10 weeks after planting the seeds

I love planting the crop because it can produce so much with such little effort, and you seem to never stop finding great recipe ideas on Pinterest for just what to make with them.

Happy Frost-Free in KC and Happy Planting, everyone!

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One Comment

  • carolee

    Our “frost free” date is around May 10. Keep thinking I need to get the potatoes planted, but there’s just been too much else to do! You’ve inspired me to move it up on the list!

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