February 29, 2012
Its almost St. Patrick’s day and time to plant potatoes.
My mother always told me that you plant potatoes on st. patricks day. She said thats because the irish love to eat potatoes. She lived in zone 6 in the Appalachian Mountains and by words of wisdom, that is too early for them, but thats what they did and it seemed to work, she ate lots of potatoes growing up.
We live in zone 7 so St. Patrick’s day is just right.
I have a bag of potatoes on my counter and they all have sprouts, maybe they know something I don’t.
Potatoes, are one of my favorite things to grow.
I get small potatoes at the farmer’s market and soak them in water for a little then put them in a warm place in a paper bag to sprout.
After they sprout, I cut them into quarters or plant them whole (if they are tiny) into the place I want to grow them, about 12″ apart, 3-4 inches deep.
Not all soil is equal in Brooklyn and I did read in a NYT article that potatoes grown in soil that may have lead are ok to eat as long as you wash them. That being said though, it is much, much easier to plant potatoes in a container and just empty the contents of the container at the end of the growing season (after the plants turn yellow) and pick out your potatoes. I almost always miss and damage some when I dig them out.
Sometimes, I get antsy and shove my hand under the plant and steal a few during the growing season. The plants don’t seem to mind and I get really tasty new potatoes that are amazing.
Once in awhile I have had problems with Potato Bugs, I have found that planting potatoes with marigolds has kept them away.
Five gallon buckets make great containers for potatoes as do trash cans or a large bag of soil, just cut some slits in the bag and plant your potaoes, isn’t that easy?
Another method is to plant your potatoes in a tire and as the plant grows, keep stacking tires on top of the plants and add more soil, compost, old leaves, hay, shredded newspaper, well you get the idea. At the end of the season, take away the tires and pick out your potatoes.
Potatoes like either a high or low PH soil. Low PH will make a more waxy texture potato and High PH will make a more dry-textured potato. Think pine needles, citrus rinds, eggshells and sulfur, for low ph, think vegetable fats (avocado peels) and lime (the powdered type) for a high ph.
They really are super easy and taste oh so much better than the ones you get at C-Town. I saw a few volunteer plants growing out of my compost bin last year, I can’t wait to see what grew when I turn the compost this week.
Thats, my 2 cents, try them, they are fun to grow.
Rose Red & Lavender
Flowers Plants, and Beautiful Things
653 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
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