Thursday, February 9

*gardening today for tomorrow

A few days ago I posted on gardening and planting potatoes from your cupboards. I had several to comment on my blog and private message me regarding this idea. I wanted to give a bit more attention to the potato seed planting today.

I thought I would read just a bit before writing this morning so I could bring you accurate information outside of my own experiences. You see, each year we buy "seed potatoes" from our local farm store. Many nursery's carry them, or seed and feed stores will carry them by the pound.  I do utilize any potatoes in the pantry that have started sprouting in the garden as well.


I have know for years that the potatoes from the grocers shelves have been treated with a chemical that inhibits sprouting, molding, wards off pesticides etc.   There are many groups who are in agreement that the chemicals put on produce, not only potatoes, is toxic and harmful to our bodies.  Furthermore reducing the value of the produce itself. The FDA however has approved such practices stating that it is not harmful and helps sustain produce for the demands therein.  The FDA also states that the food values are not lost and if it is that such problems can be taken care of by vitamin supplements. (read more on this at Food Irradiation: The Risk)  I was surprised to find that this practice is used on so many products.

With this in mind, I am so very grateful that we grow most of the veggies that we eat on a regular basis.  I cannot allow myself to get crazy with this idea, because believe me- I could.  I could easily decide we are NOT buying anything that we can't possibly produce here at home - there might be some revolting going on if I were to shift in that direction. On the other hand, I can do all I can do (without loosing my mind) by contributing to our families daily intake with home grown vegetables, fruit, milk, and meats.  We know what has gone into the meats we are eating from our farm, we know what has gone into the soil where our plants are growing.  I know everyone does not have the opportunity to raise their own meat, procure and maintain a large garden, raise chickens for fresh eggs or even have the desire or time to do so.  Seek out farmers markets, fresh produce at road side stands and grown a few things each year in your small spot.  Look on your local craigslist to see if you are able to locate a family that sells fresh eggs in your area.

I lived in a rural area as a child and our family always had a nice garden that produced abundantly. We also kept chickens for a while and often ate meat that we either raised, caught or hunted.  When I married and left home we moved away into a suburban area where I neither had time, money (we were broker than a corn flake), or desire to garden at the age of 20.  Some years past and on our small lot in a suburban area I did have a garden that produced some produce for our table.  We have had a garden in suburban areas and it was a joy of mine to work in it.  It can be done. I did not have the motivation then that I do now, such as wanting cleaner food for our bodies.  I am more determined today to do as much as I am able while still not making myself crazy about the whole thing, to provide what we can from the garden to the body.  

SO.... back to planting potatoes..
As I said before, we do purchase seed potatoes from the feed/seed store here in the area, however if I have a potatoes in the pantry to sprout it goes in the ground as well to produce what it will.  Here are a few tips on how I plant potatoes.

As you can see this potatoes has several sprouts or eye's on it. I can cut in in order to produce several potato plants.  You need to make sure you leave a good portion of potato with the eye because the plant will get some of its feed from the potato seed as it starts to grow.  I use plant whatever has sprouted in the potato bin, whether it is a red, Yukon gold or baking potato.

Here you can see that I have sliced the potato in half so I will have two plants to grow from this one potato. I could slice the one to the right in half again, but I am going to leave it as it is.

You will gently turn the slice up on its side so air can move around it and cure or dry the moist exposed part of the potato.  After a few days you can put the seed into the soil.  you will want to use your shove, hand spade or whatever you have to loosen the soil around the area where it will grow.  There are many different methods to planting a potato. Some use old tires and put the potato in the center of the first one and as the plant grows they add more soil weekly as the plant continues to emerge from the soil they add more and eventually adding more tires etc. I personally have never done this but read about it often.  We dig a little furrow in the soil, drop the seed potato in cover it with about an inch or so of soil and as the plant grows we add more and more soil (and or leaf mixture) around each plant. Within a month or two there will be a nice mound of soil up around each plant.  Once the plant has bloomed and the leaves start to die off a bit you can start to dig your potatoes.  This is usually several months or a bit more after you have planted your potato seed.   Each plant might yield you 6 to 8 potatoes, it depends on the type of potato. 




Once you have dug your potatoes you will want to store them in a nice cool place in order to extend their shelf life. We have a large closet that has shelves from the floor up all the way around the large closet. We stored all of our potatoes in there this past year. You will want to store them on newspaper or freezer paper side by side. Do not stack the potatoes.  They will need to be stored just the way you dig them out of the ground. While you will be tempted to clean them up, don't wash them. Once dug  you can put them on a shaded area so the soil can dry a bit, where the bulk of it will fall off. Do not leave the in the sun and if you dig that morning, be prepared to bring them in to the storage place that evening.  Choose the coolest place you have available to you.  If you have a crawl space under neath your house that you can get to easily, this also works well.  We grew a ton of potatoes last  year, or so it seemed. We dug about 100lbs and used potatoes from our storage room for many months thereafter as well as share some with family and friends.  I hope this has helped spark some interest in grown a few things on the little or big spot of land you have.  No spot is too small, many even use containers when they don't have much ground that is usable.   OK.. I am getting off the soap box.  Y'all have a super week!



shared at Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

26 comments:

  1. I just wanted to thank you for posting this. I'm in the process of trying to figure out what I'm going to put in my very first garden. And potatoes were one of the items on my list. Thankfully, I already have peach trees, a cherry tree, a lemon tree, a grapevine, and strawberry plants, so I just need to get the rest of my veggies and a few more fruits and I'll be all set.

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    1. Oh how exciting Lisa! Potatoes keep for many months after you dig them. We would love to have a few more fruit trees as well and that is on our list of things to add. If you have leaves that you can rake and turn into the soil where you are planting, the soil will be ever grateful and rich for your plants!

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  2. how do you store your potatoes once harvested. This is the one thing that we will grow and grow plenty of this year. Any suggestions for storage? I was going to keep them in a "bin" in the garage but when it gets hot I think it will be too hot. Help with ideas if you can, please. ~Trina

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    1. Hey friend, I should have included that in my post.. great question, so I went back and added that to my original post. Do you guys have a crawl space? Look up root cellar on google, it will give you some ideas as well.

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    2. The garage will be way to hot for prolonged storage.

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  3. Great post! My hubby will want to read this. We are having our first veggie garden this year. I'm following you via the LF blog hop. Hope you will follow me back! :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping in Tanya and for following via LF. I hope your garden is a huge success!

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  4. I'm looking forward to planting my garden this year and potatoes are definitely on my list of things to plant.

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    1. yes, Rose, potatoes are a staple here! They are so easy to grow too, and then digging time is quite rewarding! Happy gardening

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  5. Maybe you can inspire me to really grow a garden! I'm linky following you :)

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    1. You think!? That sure makes me excited! You can do it Sherry!! Even if you do a few small things this year!

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  6. Hi! I am so glad I found your blog! We have tried to plant potatoes, but never get much of a yield and they're small. Your tips will be very helpful and I will try them this year. I have never added soil around them though. I just planted them and let them grow. I remember my Great Grandpa planting potatoes when I was a girl and he always planted them on Good Friday. He said that was the best day to plant them :o) Thanks for your post!

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    1. Your welcome Jen, so glad you enjoyed it. Gardening is one of my passions. Hoping the best for your potatoe planting this year!

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  7. That was a lot of research you gave us. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. I am gonna grow fingerling potatoes this year. Have you ever grown potatoes trough the winter under a garden row or straw?

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    1. Clint, I had thought about this, but with our schedule this past year, no we did not get to it. I hope to do that this late fall though. Have you had success with that?

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  8. Hi Lynnie. Great post! I have been thinking of planting potatoes for a few years now but have never done if for fear of the sq ft it would require to plant a decent amount to make it worth my wild for our family of 6. Approx how many plants do you have to produce a whopping 100lbs? We usually go through a 5lb bag of potatoes a week around here (if not more) and would love to be able to grow our own!

    Any insight would be wonderful!!

    Julie

    www.strawberryadventures.blogspot.com

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    1. Gosh, I can't recall the amount of seed potatoes we bought from the feed and seed.. seems like we got 20lbs of seeds? We planted two rows, maybe 50 ft long each? To me it wasn't a lot of space but we have 6 acres.. so everything is relative. This may be of help to you: http://tipnut.com/grow-potatoes/
      Happy Planting!

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  9. New follower from LF Blog Hop. Would love it if you could stop by my page at http://grandmasamazingjourney.blogspot.com

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    1. PM, thanks for stopping by and choosing to follow.

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  10. I enjoyed reading your post.I am now following you on Linky.I would love it if you followed me back. I really enjoy meeting new Bloggers.

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  11. I've never had good luck with potatoes. I think our soil has too much clay.

    This post reminded me of when I was little and we had a root cellar. It was my job to go down and get potatoes for dinner. I hated that....It was dark, cold, and the potatoes had so many eyes sprouted...they looked like giant spiders...lol

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    1. LOL! I wish I had a root cellar! So tell me, do you hate spiders to this day?

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  12. Great post Lynnie,
    I am planning to grow some potatoes in a bamboo circle UPWARD this year. I have read a few posts about it and asked my vegetable crop professor if it's reasonable. He thinks it'd work fine. Wish me luck... I'll post about my success or failure.

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  13. I do wish you the best. I am sure you will have success! I have read of this as well. Can't wait to read about the outcome!

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  14. I enjoyed reading this, I have been growing potatoes for the last three years, and found it interesting the different ways you say they can be grown, I have never heard of cutting the potatoes up before to grow more than one plant, I just may give that a try.

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