The Spuds Are Back In Town - by Holly Simpson, Sales Associate
"What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow." A. A. Milne (1882-1956)
It’s potato planting time! Over 6,000 years ago, the Incans
are said to have worshiped potatoes as a sacred food source. High in
fiber, a good source of vitamin C, a versatile comfort food and with
good storing capacity, you’ll worship your home-grown, hand-dug potatoes
High Mowing sells nine varieties of organic seed potatoes
– early, mid and late season – in many colors – red, blue, white, cream
– suitable for storage or for fresh-eating as tender “new” potatoes.
Spanish soldiers carried them on ships to prevent scurvy.
Brought to America, by way of Irish and Scottish immigrants, these
tubers are now the world’s fourth largest food crop. But no need to dip
into the commodity pool to get your potatoes – growing your own can be
easy and fun!
Start by designating a decent sized space in your garden
space. Choose an area where the soil is fertile and not heavy with
clay. Manure or compost are suitable fertilizers. Plant the potatoes
anywhere from 2-4 weeks before the last frost date in your area. The
earlier you plant, the more attention you will want to pay to the
overnight temperatures. Cover the potatoes well if a frost threatens.
Sow the potatoes approximately 3-6 inches below the soil and
cover well. Seeds should be 10-12 inches apart. Make sure that there
is at least one eye, if you are cutting larger potatoes into pieces for
seed to bud. For a more substantial crop, 30 feet of row length will
produce 200 good spuds and then some. A larger crop will ensure that
you can enjoy your crop from approximately mid-July until it is time to
harvest for storage.
Once the buds have emerged from the soil, you need to hill
the potatoes, building soil around the plant and leaving the top of the
plant exposed for more growth. Then after 3 weeks or so, hill them
again. After about 7-8 weeks, you can dig up new potatoes. These tiny
baby potatoes are tender and delicious, roasted or grilled. When the
plants begin to die back in September or so, you will want to harvest
the potatoes within 2-3 weeks. Cure potatoes for several weeks in a
cool, dry and dark place, particularly somewhere they won’t freeze.
Store them in a root cellar or in a dark room that is between 38-40
degrees so they won’t soften and sprout.
Your crop of potatoes can last for (at the very least) nine
months, therefore eliminating the need to purchase store bought potatoes
that are shipped in from thousands of miles away. If you have some
decent potatoes left in April, you may want to plant them for seed the
following season. Your ambition will reward you with a tangible and
edible treat and perhaps even something to honor when eating on a cold
For more information on planting potatoes, as well as info
on pests and diseases, check out the High Mowing Organic Seeds Growing Info for potatoes.