Planting Potatoes

We had heard over the years how wonderful fresh harvested potatoes were so last year we decided to give it a try.  We did pretty well up to the point tiny little bugs stripped the leaves.  Those little buggers eat really fast.  We did get a small harvest and they were delicious.  So this year we’ll be ready for the little twerps.

The potatoes being planted are Red Norland and German Butterball.  Because our plot isn’t big we needed a way to grow them without taking up a lot of space.  I found last year on Pinterest loads of information about potato towers and that seemed perfect for us.  And it worked very well.  They aren’t hard to grow but there is a bit of prep to do before planting them.

Planting potatoes 1 2013

The seed potatoes get shipped mid April to our area.  We get our stuff from High Mowing in Vermont.  They are great but I do recommend buying your seed from an organic source near your zone.  That way you know it is adapted for your growing conditions.  The potatoes need to be sliced so each chunk you have has some “eyes” on it.  This is where the potato plants grow from.

Planting potatoes 2 2013

The cut sides need to be treated with sulfur to prevent rot.  Now last year we were very careful to follow directions.  They had to dry completely before planting.  But then the next direction was to put them in the soil and water well.  What’s the point?  So this year I cut them all up and treated them.  I let them be in the sun while I put the towers together.

Planting potatoes 3 2013

As the potatoes grow more soil is added so you need enough height to accommodate the growth.  It is also good to have composted soil for this as the potatoes need lots of nutrients.  We had some old wire fencing so we use these for the forms of the towers.  Line the bottom with the compost and line the sides with straw.  Fill the tower with about 6 inches of soil, water well then place the potatoes in with the eyes pointing upwards.

Planting Potatoes 4 2013

Cover with a couple inches of soil and water well.

Planting Potatoes 5 2013

A friend gave us two small tower bags to try out so we used those and built a second tower.  We should get loads of potatoes without using a ton of space.  :)

Planting Potatoes 6 2013

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31 thoughts on “Planting Potatoes

  1. They can be kept outside for a while after harvesting, as long as you keep them in mounds and cover with lots of earth to prevent any sunlight from getting to them. I don’t remember how long huge mounds in the fields were left like that before being sold off. Certainly not months, if I remember correctly.

  2. I love home grown potatoes. And I’ve never had any twerps, which is surprising, cause it seems like we get every kind of bug here. Whatever you do, don’t plant sweet potatoes. They’re so good, but they will take over your yard and your neighbors. I’m still digging up roots years later…

  3. This is interesting, having grown potatoes myself. What you have there is a homemade potato bin! You can buy plasic ones which do the same job. As a teenager my mother encouraged me to grow them in the garden. The plot had them in neat little monded rows around 1/2m apart. Nowadays, I buy them from the farm when I collect the eggs. Maybe grow some in a pot. Thing is, I’ve always planted seed potatoes whole. This technique never even occured to me before now. If it works in my climate and situation it could save some money! :-)

    • Didn’t think of planting them whole. But yes, as long as there is an eye on the part of the potato you are planting then you get a plant. Definitely makes it economical as these were $11.50 for 2.5 lbs for each type.

  4. This is really helpful. I loved all the great potatoes grown in England and struggle to find good varieties of potatoes here. So 2 years ago I tried to grow some with very limited success. Next time I will follow your steps. Do keep us posted on these!

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