Potatoes are easy to grow in the Northwest. They can be grown in the ground, raised beds or containers.
They like at least ½ day sunshine and good watering. Make sure you have good drainage as standing water will cause root rot.
Note – Seed potatoes are specifically for planting. Potatoes from the grocery store are treated with a bud inhibitor which will greatly decrease the amount harvested.
You can plant the potatoes whole or cut into thirds with at least 2 “eyes” per piece. If cutting, allow the cut to “harden off” for a day or two. Dust pieces with sulfur to help prevent early and late blight.
Soil should be well drained and slightly acidic, (pH 5.2 or higher). Plant in rows 10-12 inches wide in a trough 4-6 inches deep. Add just enough soil to cover the pieces. As the plants grow, add more soil burying the new growth. Continue this procedure until the plant starts to flower.
Potatoes are prone to excessive top growth and scab when given too much nitrogen. Use a fertilizer like 5-10-10 side dressed every 3 weeks. A good “homemade” organic fertilizer is mixing 1 part nitrogen (fish or blood meal), 3 parts phosphorous (bone meal or fish bone meal), and 2 parts potash (kelp meal).
New potatoes can be harvested at 10 weeks. Decrease watering in late summer as the plant starts to yellow and fall over. When this happens cut the foliage away and start harvesting. Dig up gently to avoid punctures. If container grown simply turn the container over and sort through the soil.
Brush off any dirt clinging to the potato and store in a cool dark place. Do not wash until ready for cooking. Washing too early shortens their shelf life.
At The Grange we carry a full line of fertilizers and “simples” (organic ingredients for the do it yourselfer) and natural fungicides. Starting the 2nd week of February we will offer 12 different varieties of Seed Potatoes.