‘Tis the season to begin considering your garden, and potatoes are a good place to start. If you missed the recent workshop on growing potatoes in a sack (complete with said sack and potatoes) it’s not to late to get the skinny on how what conditions create the best results.
This month’s West Coast Seeds newsletter offers their top recommendations:
“Aside from hilling up, here are our top five tips for tip top potatoes:
- Plant potatoes in full sun, and avoid freshly limed beds. Potatoes like slightly acid soil with a pH of 6.0 – 6.8. Organic matter in the soil will improve your crop, but use well rotted compost or dig in a cover crop the previous fall. Avoid fresh manure.
- Once you plant your potatoes, don’t water them until after you see the plants sprout above ground. This will help to prevent soil diseases from affecting your crop. Once they’re growing, keep your potato plot evenly moist, particularly once the plants begin to bloom.
- For fresh eating of baby or “new” potatoes, wait until the plants are in bloom. That’s usually a good indication that an early summer harvest is ready.
- For storage potatoes, wait until the plants wither and turn brown, and then leave them in the soil for a further 3 weeks as their skins firm up. Harvest them for storage if there’s a threat of very cold or very wet weather.
- Store potatoes in a cold, dark place, above freezing, with good ventilation. You can brush soil off your harvested spuds, but don’t wash them – the extra moisture is not good for storage. Check your stored potatoes frequently throughout winter, and remove any that are turning soft or looking mouldy.”