We want to do a fat crop of potatoes and yams this year and we are totally confused by the info we have been able to glean online. Some people say just throw them in a stack of hay and others say be sure they have shade..yada yada yada..
Any root crop folks in this group?
Daniel & Darlene
Thank you Paul! This is the clearest directions we have seen. Looking forward to seeing you soon! Would love your help at the GreenLife EcoFestival - call us okay :-)
I Agree with Paul - great post! Problem I've always had is with critters eating and nibbling at potatoes. .. just saw someone growing about 10 plants with vertical fence stock inside a car tire as a base... works pretty easy... keeps critters from gnawing and digging them up..keeps em warm... and you just tilt the fence to harvest. I've grown them in part shade. I've found potatoes are pretty 'bullet-proof' ... I usually just buy good quality organic supermarket potatoes and cut off the 'eyes' on all corners and plant them.. way cheaper than buying 'plantable' potatoes.
Yes, Plant untreated potatoes. It is common to treat potatoes so that they don't sprout so use organic potatoes. Here in Sonoma County I plant in mid-March or later. I cut the potatoes in half or thirds if they are large and wait a day or few hours so the cut can dry. That helps prevent rotting.
I plant about six inches deep. I mulch with finished compost as I have it available. This is what I do to any uncovered soil in my growing beds. Straw can be used as a mulch, but straws is consumed by bacteria that take nutrients from the soil while they work on rotting the straw. Finished compost protects the soil while giving nutrients. This mimics what nature does with layers of old leaves and grasses from last year on the soil surface with the new plants above. Sustainable gardening is based on simple principles that copy nature.
I keep the plants watered and harvest when the plants turn yellow and dry up.
I left some in ground all winter and some of them were not good for eating. They were watery and didn't taste right. Perhaps they came from a part of the garden that got too cold for proper storage. I will definitely harvest sooner next year as we did have tasty purple and brown potatoes. I have some red potatoes in the ground this year. I think they will be easier to see and harvest than the purple and brown ones that blend with the soil.
As with all root crops potatoes like loose soil. They grow upwards producing up to 20 new potatoes above the seed potato. Potatoes are typically grown in windrows but i think potato towers are cool. check out this video. this woman does a phenomenal job presenting this concept.