Growing Potatoes Part 4: Harvesting and Storing Potatoes

    In this post I will go over some details on when and how to harvest potatoes, as well as what I have learned about storage. Also see my other posts in this same series: Part 1, Getting Started; Part 2, Choosing Seed Potatoes, Preparation; and Part 3, Planting and Growing Potatoes. After a couple of months of preparing, planting, watering, and tending to my plants, all along wondering what’s happening under ground, I find myself getting giddy in the anticipation for a well deserved, tasty reward. The work load has definitely been tolerable, so much so that each year I have found myself wishing to expand my designated garden area to allow for more potato rows. It really is quite simple; when all is said and done, it seemed I did little more than stick the seed potatoes in the ground, cover with dirt, cover some more, water, and wait. Then comes time to dig and eat! I just love sticking my pitch fork in the dirt to discover what might be hiding underneath! What will happen when I turn the soil over? There could be nothing but balls of packed soil and little rocks. But most of the time, out roll firm spuds of different sizes and colors; sometimes yellow, sometimes red, or just plain gray or brown; it all depends on the variety I planted, of course. My kids yell, “There’s one! Wait, there’s more!” What […] Read more »

Growing potatoes Part 3: Planting and Growing Potatoes

    This is Part 3 in my series “Growing Potatoes”. In this post I will provide pictures and information to show you how to plant and grow potatoes. Also see the links to  Part 1: Getting Started,  Part 2: Choosing Seed Potatoes, and Part 4: Harvesting and Storing Potatoes. How-To Reference Guide For your convenience, I have added a little how-to guide for easy reference in the very beginning of this post, and more detailed information beneath. For metric measurements, see Conversions to Metric in the top menu bar. 1. Choose certified seed potatoes. 2. Plant whole, small seed potatoes, or cut into 2-inch pieces with at least 1-2 eyes in each. 3. Let cut pieces sit for 1 day after cutting until a thin callous forms on the cut sides. 4. Plant in spring as soon as soil can be worked, or any time after that; but allow enough time for maturing before winter. 5. Dig a 6 inch deep trench for planting, or a 6 inch deep hole for each seed potato. 6. Plant potatoes or pieces 1 1/2 foot apart, sprouts up, and around 2-3 feet between rows. 7. Cover with 4 inches of dirt. 8. When sprouts emerge, cover with 4 more inches of soil. 9. When green stems emerge again and are 8 inches tall, cover / hill with dirt half way up the stems, up against the plants. 10. After 2-3 more weeks, […] Read more »

Growing Potatoes Part 2: Choosing Seed Potatoes, Preparation

    Planting and growing potatoes may sound difficult and something only a seasoned gardener would do, but it is really not that tricky! Just a little bit of information can help you know what to do to get started. I’ll give you some pointers regarding varieties and seed potatoes, chitting (sprouting), and cutting. Chitting and cutting is not strictly necessary, and there are different opinions on these practices, but I’ll tell you what I’ve learned so far and you can decide for yourself what you should do. Potato Varieties Potatoes, spuds, taters, whatever you like to call them, originated from South America, and according to Wikipedia, there are a stunning 5,000 different varieties across the world today! Fortunately you won’t have to choose between that many at the store! Only a very small fraction of these varieties are in reality available to us, and  for the most part you only need to worry about which characteristics you want to focus on: Do you want a so-called white potato, red-skin, baking potato, or perhaps a beautiful, yellow Yukon? These taters are quite different from each other, and some of the main differences are the content of starch versus water. White and red-skin potatoes contain a lot of water and sugar (but are low on starch), and are ideal for soups and stews, and also for potato salads, as they hold their shape well when they are done cooking. For mashing, […] Read more »

Growing Potatoes Part 1: Getting Started

How to plant potatoes

  As a hobby gardener, potatoes are among my favorite crops to grow. In this post, Part 1 of 4 total, I will touch on some general information on how to get started on growing potatoes and share some of my own experiences. In the upcoming parts, Choosing Seed Potatoes and Preparation (for planting) in Part 2;  Planting and Growing Potatoes in Part 3;  and in Part 4, Harvesting and Storing Potatoes, I will go into detail on what I do during the process of growing and harvesting potatoes. In the process of learning about potato growing I have absolutely fallen in love with this rewarding crop! I mean, what is there not to love about it? Really! Just look at this one:   This plant is a little bit different from other vegetable plants, but once you know what to do you will find that they really are quite easy to grow, and the excitement is on an all-time high once harvest time comes along! Once they are ready to be harvested, we usually dig only what’s needed for that day’s dinner. I’ll typically send one of the kids out to the garden come dinner time or I’ll go myself with a pitch fork. Fresh out of the ground, the potatoes are firm and crisp like a fresh apple; in fact, in certain areas of Norway they call them “earth apples.” Perhaps from the crispness of the freshly dug […] Read more »