Monday, March 31, 2014

Celebrate Spring by Planting Potatoes

 Early spring is here, and it's time to plant potatoes.  I put mine in a couple of weeks ago, and there's still plenty of time to plant yours.  Purchase seed potatoes, available at garden centers or farm stores, to plant.  Do not use grocery store potatoes, although if you have some sprouting you can plant them; the yield may be less than seed potatoes.  Farmers may spray grocery store potatoes with chemicals to inhibit sprouting.

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Before you plant the seed potatoes, cut them into chunks with an "eye," or sprout, on each piece

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Dig a trench several inches deep, in rows 12 inches apart.  Carefully drop the pieces of seed potato into the ground about 8 inches apart.


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Cover the potatoes with about 3 inches of soil.  Here I'm using my hand plow to fold the dirt over the top of the potatoes.


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To the right is the covered row of potatoes; to the left is the one I'm about to cover.

As the potatoes grow, I'll push the plow down the row and cover the stems of the lengthening plants.  The soil will prompt the plants to form more tubers along the covered stems.  Applying soil to make sure the tubers remain covered is imperative; sunlight causes the potatoes to turn green and bitter.  I have also covered my potatoes with straw, but voles moved into the straw and ate tasty potato snacks all spring.  They do not enjoy having their homes disturbed with the plow.  

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