If you want chemical-free potatoes, growing potatoes yourself is the best way to do so. Early varieties of potatoes such as caribe and Irish cobbler mature in about 90 days. Mid-season varieties such as Yukon gold and red norland potatoes mature in about 100 days.
You can plant the early or mid-season varieties about three weeks before the last spring frost date, in short springs climates, and hot summers. You can also plant a late variety in the early summer so that it can grow in a cooler fall.
Is there an easy method to growing potatoes?
The easiest way for growing potatoes is by replanting. Start with only certified seed potatoes that are disease-free. You need about six pounds of seed potatoes to plant in a 50-feet row. The yield will vary between 80 and 125 pounds.
The full-size potatoes that start producing shoots are the best for seeds. You can plant the seed potatoes as whole or cut pieces. Each piece should have one eye or two. The potatoes can rot in a wet or cool soil.
Does the ground need special preparation for growing potatoes?
To plant potatoes, prepare the soil by loosening it up to 10 inches deep. Mix a layer of compost, alfalfa meal, and soybean meal or an organic fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen. You should plant the pieces 4 inches deep and about 12 inches apart in furrows. Cover up the seed pieces with nearly two inches of soil. When the first sprouts start to emerge, fill the furrows.
The soil is to be regularly tilled up on the sides of all plants as the plants grow. This way, the growing tubers remain loose and covered up from exposure to the sunlight that can make them green and toxic as well. Till soil the plants until they get 4 inches to 6 inches tall. Stop tilling as soon as the plants start getting the flowers.
What type of soil is best for growing potatoes?
You don’t need very rich soil for planting potatoes. Some organic matter and a good pH between 5.0 and 6.0 are good for the potatoes. However, a regular supply of water at least one inch in a week is important. Growing potatoes in soils with a higher pH can cause scab, which develops rough spots on them. You must add compost or peat to the soil to avoid it.
Beetle larva can develop in potatoes. Wireworms can turn the foliage black and moldy. You have to burn the foliage in such a case. Use only certified and harmless organic pesticides when needed.
The crop will be ready to harvest within 2 to 4 months depending on the seeds, climate, and the soil condition. The tops of the plants will die off. You must harvest carefully with hands or using a shovel. Gently remove the dirt and let the tubers dry indoors. Cover them with dry towels for two to three days. You can select the perfect potatoes and store them at 50 to 60 degrees F to use them as seeds for growing potatoes in the future.