Do you know that people spend lots of money on things they can grow even in their own garden? Just think About it… Is it OK to buy everything when you have your own peace of land to grow your own vegetables and save lots of money. Potatoes are not a complicated thing to grow it is a matter of just giving your self a little time to walk with me as I am giving great information and to answer every question on what is the best way to grow potatoes.
Seed Preparation for Potatoes
To grow your potatoes, just take them to a cool and dry place and leave them for weeks and with time you will see buds emerging on the potatoes and that is when you will be sure that your potatoes are ready to be plant. You can just use your own potatoes bought from the supermarket to grow your own potatoes or you can go to the nearest extension officer to get more advanced and hybrid seeds if you like but they all do the same thing.
After the buds have been formed that is when you know that they are ready to be on their own to develop roots and grow into plants. If you want to make a couple of plants out of one potatoes you can just cut the potatoes in between or at the center of the buds and split them completely to grow in different locations. However, before we can plant them let us take a look on how we can prepare for best growing potatoes.
Before anything can be done it is really important to know the state of your soil, the potatoes needs soil that is having sufficient nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.You should consider the fact that potatoes need a well drained soil so if the soil is not well drained the potatoes will rot. Well drained soil allows oxygen to penetrate through the soil to the roots. Growing potatoes can be done very well by growing it in raised beds. This is how you can do it.
- Just loosen the soil with either a pick or a hoe and you can even till and disk the land with a tractor depending on how big the area you are to plant is, if you are to plant in a small area it is OK to make hips or ridges with just your hoe and it can be done best when the soil is wet. Please do remember the fact that for the potatoes to do well the land has to be well drained… so how can you improve soil drainage? This is how you can do it
- This is another way you can use. After having tilted the soil make the raised beds by placing either blocks around the area where you want to make the bed, then fill up that area with compost or leaves after having done that the soil has to follow on top. The soil is heavier than the leaves so what will happen is that underneath there will be the leaves then on top the soil slightly mixed with compost for drainage purposes. When the leaves decompose it gives nutrients to the tubers and it also improves the flow of oxygen on the roots stimulating the tubers to grow tremendously.
- Cow dung can also play a great role in improving soil structure and fertility. This is what you can do… after having made your beds you can just mark the depth of your spade and width and just remove the soil on a side and to be used to cover the seeds later. Just get dried cow dung and distribute it along the area where you have removed the soil with your spade.
After having done with the soil preparations , everything is just simple and easy to do. You just have to have your seeds with you and get ready for planting.
When using the third method illustrated above you just have to place your seeds in between the dried cow dung with a good spacing of 15cm in between then cover the seeds with the soil you removed when preparing then you water your bed and be careful not to over water your plants because this will result to rotting of your seeds.
The cow dung acts as a mulch and for the seeds retaining moisture and as it decompose it releases nutrients enriching the soil, please remember the reason we are doing all this, It is to improve soil structure and drainage making the growing environment best for growing potatoes. Now your potatoes will grow well in a really good and nutrient rich environment.If you are growing on ridges you can even do this method, it can work tremendously well for all methods.
Give your plants fertilizer as a side dress, just give them a ratio of 10:10:10 and if the soil was tested and is fertile then there will be no need to add fertilizers any further. Some farmers think that by adding more of fertilizer they love the plants and they are not aware of the dangers. Too much or less of fertilizer can result to little or no yield.
Maintenance Of Potatoe Plants
Potatoes need to be hilled , as they grow they may be exposed to light which is not good for their growth, so hilling the potatoes is something you have to do when the potatoes are about 7 to 12 inches tall. This can be done by simply using your hoe to bring and cover the tubers from being exposed to light.
The ridge and hip system needs to be monitored from time to time because the hips or ridges some soil may be washes by heavy rains to ground level exposing the tubers to sunlight.
The Reason potatoes turn green
After having harvested your potatoes it is very important to place your potatoes in a dark place where they won’t have access to light. Actually it just have to be a place with cool temperatures, not too hot and not too cold temperatures. Please when harvesting avoid damaging your potatoes as this increases the chances of exposing the potatoes to fungal rots, damages also promote the formation of solanine which can lead to losses. Green potatoes are toxic to eat since they contain solanine so exposing them to light will lead to more potatoes greening and ofcose you will have to throw them all away after greening.
When to Harvest your potatoes
Potatoes can be ready to eat whiles the plants are still green but by that time they will be baby potatoes. You can not store baby potatoes for more since their skin is very thin for them to stay long. The best time to harvest them is when the parent plants have dried completely and by that time the potatoes underneath will have developed a hard skin and good to be harvested, by this time they will be OK to stay for long after being harvested. One thing for sure you have to be careful of is to keep them away from light as I have just mentioned. You just need a fork to dig them out.