Different Ways to Grow Potatoes
Potatoes are popular crops, which are used for different culinary purposes. Although, they are a vegetable, some healthy eating specialists say that people should not consider them as such when trying to lose weight or to live healthier. Nevertheless, a plate full of cooked potatoes is quite a sating and delicious meal. And that is why people love them, because they are delicious. And it is great to have them in your garden.
Most garden owners don't know that there are different ways to plant and grow potatoes. Some methods are very helpful in cases when the soil in your yard is not appropriate for potatoes, and you can benefit a lot from them. It is not just to bury a few potatoes in the ground and to wait for them to grow, there is more to be done.
The first method for growing these magnificent vegetables is called hilled rows. It is the easiest method of all, as it is done directly in the ground. Take a hoe and make straight rows in the ground, about 2 to 3 feet from each other. They shouldn't be very deep, but shouldn't be very shallow either. Take your potato seeds and place them in the rows at about 12 inches from each other. Once you are ready, cover the seeds with soil, not more than 3 inches.
The specific about this method is that you have to maintain your potato plants a little bit more. What does that mean? Well, when your first potato plants pop up from the ground, wait for them to grow as big as 10-12 inches. Take your hoe again and pull soil against the plants to cover them by half. You should mound your potato plants throughout the whole growing season. The bigger they grow, the bigger the crops.
Mind that the hilled rows method is not very appropriate for farms where the soil is with poor quality and may lead to very poor crops.
A lot of farmers grow potatoes with this method, as it gives very good results. The crop is rich and the potatoes get pretty big. It is best if you have raised beds with movable sides, in order to harvest more easily. However, it won't be a problem if your raised beds are static.
Cover the bottoms of your raised beds with soil and place the potato seeds in it, again at 12 inches from each other. Cover them with about 3 inches of soil and wait until they grow 12 inches high. You should put more soil in the raised beds during the growing process, always covering the plants by half, until your fill them up completely.
The raised beds method is extremely useful for places where the soil is with bad quality.
Prepare your soil and place the potato seeds on its surface, again at a space of 12 inches from each other. Cover the seeds with a layer of loosen straw mulch. When your plants pop out and start growing, continue adding mulch until you make a layer about one feet deep. This method is very good as it doesn't allow weeds to grow around your potato plants, but keeps moisture. Moreover, it stops Colorado potato beetles, too. It has one disadvantage, though - mice very often hide in the straw and feed on your potatoes.
The wood box method for growing potatoes is something like the raised beds method. It is meant to help farmers with bad soil. It is practically a raised bed, but made of wood. The difference is that in the end of the growing season you unnail the box to harvest the crops.
So, how to plant in this box. Make a bottomless wooden box. Its beams should be high enough to nail additional slats later during the growing process. Cover the bottom with soil and put the seeds on it. Cover them with about 3 inches soil, and add more during the growing process. Install additional slats to the box, if you have to. You can also remove the bottom slats, in order to harvest young, fresh potatoes more easily.
This method is a bit more time-consuming, because you have to do some carpentry, but it is worth a try.
So, make cylinders from meshwork, big enough to house at least 3 plants, and cover their bottoms with a few inches of soil. Put the potato seeds and cover them with 3 more inches of soil. Add more soil as the plants grow. When the time for harvesting comes, just remove the wire and spoil and mounts of soil.
This method is very good, because it offers good drainage. It is very appropriate for regions with long rainy seasons. Mind that the mesh of the wire shouldn't be bigger than 1/4 inch.
Growing potatoes in bags is a popular method. You can do it in garbage nylon bags, or in special commercial growing bags made of dense polypropylene. The same as with the rest of the over-ground potato growing methods - cover the bottom of the bag with soil, put the seeds and add 3 more inches of soil. Add more soil during the growing period, until you fill up the bag. This method is very good, because you can grow your own potatoes in bags even on your porch. The thing is, though, that commercial potato growing bags are a bit expensive, in my opinion. On the other hand, they should last for a few growing seasons.
To harvest your potatoes, just lay the bags and empty their content.
Mind that, if you choose to grow your potatoes in nylon bags, you should make a few wholes in them to provide some drainage. And always choose black bags, as they attract more sun rays.
Bonus tip: Never plant tomatoes close to potatoes. These plants are not good companions because tomatoes make potatoes more vulnerable to blight.
Grow your own potatoes, no matter of the method. It isn't hard at all and it is amazing to be able to make your own chips. If you have any problems managing the planting and maintenance of your potato plants, don't hesitate to consult with some of the professional gardening experts in Wimbledon or in your area. They will help you and save you a lot of time and effort. Good luck and happy gardening.
Which is your favourite type of potatoes?
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