Saturday, August 5, 2017

Potato Time!

Photo by Helen

Photo of my potato label

It's now potato planting time in Melbourne, and I just love home grown potatoes.  I always looked for a good all rounder and one of my favourites for this is the 1902 heirloom King Edward. It produces a medium yield and an early crop, so if one is lucky I may have potatoes in time for Christmas. 

Harvest can be between 3-4 months.

Photo of my potato label
My next choice is a potato I tried last year and have found it to be one of the best for potato salads but it also is quite nice roasted, if you toss it with skins on in some olive oil and rosemary leaves. The variety I am talking about is Kipfler. It's another heirloom variety with a medium yield.

Now normally I've grown my potatoes in containers, and you can see my other potato tips here in the post One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato More.

This time I am choosing to grow them directly in the soil as I have room in my veggie plot this year to do that.  As potatoes like a rich and well drained soil, I will be preparing two trenches, one for each variety of potato, with compost and well rotted manure. I'm using chicken manure, but cow is also very good. 

Photo by Helen 
Prior to this I have spent the last month chitting my potatoes. That means I have stood them in a light and airy place indoors to form really good strong purple roots. 

I have discussed the pros and cons of chitting in my previous article, link above in this post.  I like to chit as it, in my mind gives the potato a good start.  Choose two of the best roots and rub off all the rest, these are then planted facing upwards. You need to plant them around 10cm deep and around 30cm apart. I like to spread the bottom of the trench with the manure and cover that with compost. Then Plant the potatoes into this with roots facing upwards and top dress with a little blood and bone.  I then cover up the spuds and wait for their leaves to appear above the ground. Once you have a growth above the ground start to hill up.  This is to prevent light getting to the tubers and also to encourage new tubers to form. Water in well to begin with and then keep your potatoes moist not wet. If you over water you could stand the chance of rotting the tubers.

If you are after new potatoes you can begin to harvest at around the 3 month period. But you must wait for the plant to have flowered and the leaves to be turning yellow. If it is main crop potatoes that you are after, and this is what I go for, then you really need to wait until the plant has died.

Now all you have to do is dig 'em up and enjoy them.  

Potatoes are an easy crop to grow, so why not give it a go!

Happy gardening. 

Photo's by Helen 

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