If you have spent much time around our site then you are well aware that we love to garden. As the winter begins the slow transition into spring, the hope of a new garden is coming with it. My family has already spent a few hours planning what we would like to grown and how we are going to set up the garden. We always try new vegetables and we usually try a new setup as well. It never hurts to try new things and eventually we might actually perfect the system!
One of the most frequent requests I have from my friends and family is to grow potatoes. We have grown them a few times and we loved them. But I would have to say I was a little surprised when I learned that you could grow the spuds in a variety of ways. I was always taught, as a kid, that the potatoes had to be grown straight from the ground like any other veggie. But you can actually grow potatoes in barrels. So here are some of the tips I have learned along the way that I hope will make your garden and your potato crop much better.
You always need to make sure that you have your garden in the right spot. When it comes to potatoes you need to make sure that they have plenty of light. The shady areas will not produce a very good crop. You also need to make sure that the area you are choosing has access to water. Sun light and water are the two biggest factors that will determine whether your potatoes thrive or fail.
I learned this lesson the hard way. Your potatoes need to be buried well. If your potatoes are not deep enough in the dirt they will get sunburned. When this happens the skin will turn green or black and the potato will be no good. However you also need to make sure that they are not too deep. If the potato is too deep then you will not see much growth. The main reason for this is that this product needs to be in the “Goldie locks” zone. In essence, everything needs to be just right in order for a good harvest.
It is good to have a dedicated area in your garden for the potatoes since they will require more work than any other crop. You will need to make sure that you keep the crop covered with mounds of dirt and you are also going to need to carefully monitor the area so that the weeds do not take over.
Another option is to grow your potatoes in a barrel. You could spend a few hours reading about this online but the overall gist is to use the barrel like a small green house. You will place a small layer of dirt in the barrel and then cover the spuds with a few inches of dirt. Once the sprouts start to poke through the dirt you will cover them again and add some more spuds. You keep doing this for a few weeks and before long you will have a barrel filled with potatoes. We have tried this method and I was able to produce well over 100 potatoes in a small barrel.
The choices are obviously up to you but I would recommend using the barrel method. It is easier to handle and it offers more control of the product. Plus, you will harvest a lot more crop than you would otherwise in a regular garden.
Have you tried growing potatoes? Share your tips in the comments to help our beginning gardeners get a head start!