Rainy days and Sundays always get me down when I can not garden!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

St. Patrick"s Day and Growing Potatoes.

Growing up my father would plant potatoes on St. Pat-rick's Day, the traditional planting date in Ireland
Growing Potatoes....
Potatoes can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked or when soil temperature is around 45 degrees.  Start with certified (disease free) Seed Stock for  best  results. Using potatoes from the super market may produce smaller potatoes or yields, be prone to disease, or may be treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting.  Once sprouted, new foliage is susceptible to frost damage so you may need to cover with garden fabric if temperatures dip. 
About 2 weeks before you plan to plant outside place seed potatoes in a warm area (60-70 degrees) with light to encourage sprouting.  1-2 days before planting, cut seed potatoes into 1 1/2-2 inch pieces, with 1-2 "eyes" per piece.  Smaller potatoes can be planted whole.  Allow the pieces to "cure" to create a callus over the cuts, which helps to prevent rotting when planted.  Plant in well drained, loose soil with a  pH of 5.2-6.0.  Full sun is ideal but they will also grow in partial or dabble shade but size and yields may be effected. Potatoes need  about 1"- 2"  water per week.  Reduce watering when foliage begins to die back. 
Planting/Harvest Times
mid-late March.......June/July harvest
early to mid April........July/August harvest
mid to late April...............August/October harvest
Baby or new potatoes are ready in about 10 weeks after the vines stop flowering.  Or, wait for the vines to die back to harvest late or mature potatoes.  However, potatoes can be harvested at anytime in between.  To store potatoes brush off excess soil and store potatoes in a cool (35-40 degrees),  dark, dry location with good ventilation.   

Cut into pieces.
1-2 eyes per piece. 

6-8" deep and 12-15" between rows and 4-12" between pieces

To protect from cold weather and frost.
Build soil up around foliage....green potatoes are poisonous
New potatoes.
Mature or late potatoes.


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