Potatoes are the third most widely planted crop in the world and a common food on everyone’s table. Potatoes can be cooked and fried in a simple way to make different delicious foods. Today we don’t study how to eat potatoes, but study the planting techniques of potatoes.
- Collect the seeds. Unlike other plants, potatoes can be sown in two ways.
You can order potato seeds online or buy potato seeds at your local flower market. Or use leftover potatoes from the supermarket as seeds. (But these potatoes aren’t necessarily free of germs—if you’re planning to replant potatoes in the same place, there may be some long-term problems, as there are many germs that can grow in the soil year after year.)
Use a sharp, non-serrated knife to cut each potato into roughly quarters, making sure there are no more than three small “eyes” (small potholes on the surface of the potato) on each small piece of potato. Put the treated potatoes in the sun for a day or two, or until you notice sprouting on those eyes.
While many would advise this, don’t soak potatoes! Unlike many hard-shelled seeds that require soaking to soften the skin, the potato itself has enough moisture to germinate. Soaking potatoes just makes them more prone to rot! If you want the cut sides of the potatoes to “heal” faster – let the cut sides form a dry “skin” to prevent rotting.
- Prepare the soil. You can plant potatoes in a small patch of soil, or in a pot bag, in tires and in garden bed. The most important point is to make sure you prepare the soil as free of weeds as possible. In addition to this, you may need to plant some compost or sprinkle some organic fertilizer in the soil to make the soil nutritious.
- Plant potatoes. Timing your plant time allows the potatoes to bear fruit a week or two before the last frost of the season in your area. Cold nights can kill potential pests, and your potatoes will need more light as the days get longer. In coastal Virginia, for example, potatoes planted on St. Patrick’s Day in March can be harvested in July.
Bury the seeds from seed potatoes or potato fruits about 2.5cm below the soil, and then build a small mound of soil above the seeds. There should be enough distance between the potatoes so they don’t crowd together underneath as they grow. As the potato rhizomes grow, add some soil to the base—if your potatoes get light while they’re growing, they’ll turn green and be slightly toxic.
- Take care of crops. Take good care of your potatoes and you’ll have healthy, edible fruit.
Watering the potatoes regularly will ensure that they grow uniformly. Water once a week in summer, but be thorough each time. But you can water more if needed. If the leaves of the crop appear to be wilting, the potatoes need more water. Be careful not to overwater and you’ll grow black potatoes.
- Harvest the potatoes. When approaching the first frost, harvest the fruit and enjoy. You can harvest potatoes in stages – “young” or “early” potatoes can be harvested 7-8 weeks after planting (when they are in bloom). Pick some, but don’t uproot, and let the remaining potatoes continue to grow completely. You’ll know it’s time to harvest potatoes when the vine leaves start to turn yellow and wilt.