How Do You Start Growing Potatoes?
I enjoy gardening, and I enjoy potatoes, so I was wondering how to start growing potatoes in a limited space.
So may I grow potatoes in my home garden? I was surprised to learn of all the ways to accomplish this in very easy do it yourself applications using small area ideas that can have you growing up to 100 lbs of potatoes in no time. Indoors or out, let’s look at the possibilities.
Basics Of Growing Potatoes
You need to start somewhere and using store-bought potatoes to start growing your own is not a good place to start. Start with a package of seed potatoes that have been certified. They may be purchased anywhere from Amazon to Walmart.
Potatoes from the supermarket have the possibility of carrying a disease or two. Not a good way to get started.
When you have the seed potatoes in hand the next thing you will need to do is a process called ‘chitting’. Don’t be afraid. It’s easy.
Support the seeds in an upright position using the support of maybe an egg carton and place them in a well lighted, frost-free area. This process will produce buds forming on the potatoes.
You just ‘chitted’ your potatoes. That wasn’t hard….was it?
Do not let the buds get too long or white. Keep only 2-4 buds on each seed potato to eliminate crowding of new growth.
Let’s get growing.
Start Growing Potatoes Indoors
Let’s begin with those of you who are really limited when it comes to space, such as condo and apartment dwellers.
Container gardening is one of my favorites even though I live in a house with some garden space. I like the easy maintenance of the practice.
Find a container you wish to use. Decorative pots or an old rusty watering can. The choice is yours. Add some additional drainage material such as rocks or broken up old non-usable crocks to the base of your container then fill with your growing medium to about 4 inches in depth. You have a few options here. Multipurpose potting soil works well, or you own mixture of soil and compost.
Space your seed potatoes, sprouts uppermost, evenly throughout the container. Cover with another 4 inches layer of the growing medium then sit back and wait. As the shoots grow and become exposed, continue to add further layers of potting medium until you reach within an inch or two of the rim of the container.
Remember to water and feed once or twice with your liquid feed such as Miracle Grow.
You are going to need to use grow lights or place your container outside on the patio or balcony so the plants can receive their needed light.
When To Water Growing Potatoes
Before we go any further, let us look at watering because this is a make or break deal.
You need to maintain even moisture, especially from the time when sprouts appear until several weeks after they blossom.
Potatoes grow best when they have a steady supply of 2-3 inches of water per week without fully drying out.
Potato plants should be watered deeply, especially if it gets very hot and dry.
You should stop watering potatoes after the foliage turns yellow and begins to die off. This will allow the potatoes to mature for you to the right stage before harvesting.
If you over water at this point, the maturing potatoes may rot while still in the ground.
Growing Potatoes In Raised Beds
So let us look at how to start growing potatoes in your own back yard. A do it yourself square foot garden has the possibility of growing up to 100 pounds of potatoes for your and the neighbors eating pleasures.
Small space gardening such as a 4×4 square foot of space is both efficient and convenient. Being able to produce food without a large area is a truly useful skill for any gardener, and few foods are better satisfying and easier than potatoes.
They keep for a long time, are extremely versatile and filling, and just about everyone likes them. Seriously, have you ever met someone who doesn’t enjoy potatoes one way or another?
Before we get to planting, let’s first build this 4 by 4 wooden box. You can reuse reclaimed woods or wooden pallets for this project but make sure you use those which are food grade. Do not use pressure-treated wood. You don’t need that crap leaching into your growing soil.
What’s best about this raised garden bed design is you can use this and other boxes for growing potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. again and again, for different growing seasons.
- 6 2×6″ boards, 8 ft. long
- 1 2×2″ board, 12 ft. long
- wood screws
Constructing Raised Growing Beds
The first step is cutting the 2×2 inches board into pieces of 33 inches in length; four pieces will be enough. Then, take the 2×6 boards and cut those into 12 lengths of 21 inches and 12 lengths of 24 inches.
Make some screw holes in these and attach the bottom row on the 2×2 boards.
Place this part of the vertical garden over the soil, fill with your growing medium and plant potatoes about 4 inches deep. Remember each layer which you plant must have its sides boarded up.
Now, let them grow a bit. When the vines reach some 12 inches above the soil, it’s time to add another set of boards and fill the space with the growing medium. Make sure you don’t cover more than a third of the plant.
Do the same for each layer until you finish the box.
In order to harvest your potatoes, take out the screws from the bottom board. With your hands reach in the box and grab your potatoes.
Replace boards and soil and the layer is good to go again. After the necessary time, remove the second board and have yourself a handful of potatoes.
Growing Potatoes In Bags
Another growing idea for potatoes is the use of a simple ‘grow bag’.
You may use something such as a medium-size garbage bag, mesh burlap sack, or any other kind of bag (even a potting soil bag that you bought) that will hold at least two or three gallons of your growing medium.
Punch small water drainage holes near the bottom of your grow-bag.
Fill the bottom of the bag with a few inches of soil, place your chitted potatoes, follow procedures as written above and your off to the races.
How versatile and easy it that?
When Growing Potatoes How Long Does It Take?
You can’t see your potatoes growing because they are underground. This means you have to have some patience and a little self-control. Did I just repeat my self? Yes, I did. But you didn’t want to waste all that time it took you you get to this point. Right?
It is tempting to harvest potatoes as soon as possible to enjoy them with your meals, however, different varieties can take anything from 2 to 4 months to grow. So, while the early-season potatoes will be ready to eat by the end of May or early June, others will require a bit more patience from you.
Is Growing Potatoes Worth It?
Well, that’s going to be up to you. It’s so easy and relatively inexpensive to just go to the local supermarket. for all your veggies and herbs.
However, you will not find many things more satisfying or tastier than harvesting your own produce from right outside your back door.
I will leave you with this article from the Google Net on ‘Is it worth it?’