Potatoes are an easy to grow tubular that requires a little attention and can be grown in a small area. Many claim they harvest over 100 pound of potatoes from a 4 square foot gardening area. All the care required is to add soil to the mound as the plant grows.
Garden seed potatoes aren’t really seeds. They are full-size potatoes that are allowed to start producing shoots in the potato eyes. You’ve probably seen this happen when you’ve stored potatoes in the kitchen for too long. Planting potatoes from the grocery store is a gamble. Some individual potatoes are treated with a growth inhibitor to keep them from sprouting so you need to wash them. Buying bulk potatoes usually don’t have growth inhibiters.
A week or two before you plant your potatoes you’ll want to sprout your seedlings. Put them in a warm location with 60 to 70 degree heat and in the sunlight to accelerate the sprouting process.
Prepare you potatoes the day before by cutting them into golf ball size portions with each cube having at least 2 eyes. You’ll want to keep them exposed to the air overnight which hastens a callous covering the cut part. This callus prevent the seed potato from rotting in the garden.
Potatoes don’t like a particularly rich soil. If you have some organic matter and the pH is good, the potatoes should be happy. What they do rely on is a steady water supply. If the spring and summer rains don’t offer enough water, water them at least an inch a week.
One can use build a potato box or automobile tires as a garden accessory and plant place 6 seed potatoes inside filling the tire or container half way with soil. When the vines grow about 6 inches high place another tire on top or add boards to your container and cover the vines half way with soil. Keep adding soil and tires until you reach the desired height. Tires can be stacked 4 to 8 levels high.
Potato sprouts will appear in about 2 weeks. When they get about 2 or more inches high (this will take about 3 weeks) add soil to partially cover the growing vines. Do this again 2 weeks later. This process is called “hilling”. Add an inch or two of soil every week so there is enough soil above the developing potato garden to prevent them from sticking out above the soil line because the potatoes will turn green
Harvest carefully, by hand or with a shovel. Generally, you can harvest from 2 to 4 months after planting. Turn the soil over and search through for potatoes at the bottom of the mound. The tubers can branch out and gentle digging at the bottom layer of your container will yield a potato or two. You can harvest the entire crop when the tops die off.