March 5, 2015

For heaven’s sakes! Here it is March 5th, Welcome Back Weekend, and I don’t have my potatoes and onions in the ground.

I guess I shouldn’t have fussed at Mother Nature last week ’cause she sure belted us with a heap of snow.

Well, we are going to talk about planting potatoes anyway. Usually they are planted from mid-February to about March 10th so we aren’t too far behind yet. But we sure need some spring like weather!!!

So, since potatoes develop and grow in the soil, you will need good loose soil to plant in. Clay soil is not an option. Raised beds are perfect because the soil is usually better than the ground.

If there isn’t a good garden spot or raised bed, potatoes can also be planted in containers. It can be a cheap plastic pot, like what a tree comes in, or a trash can, even a burlap or plastic planting bag will work.

Just make sure there are drainage holes and it is recommended to use a commercial potting soil in a container as opposed to garden soil.

The other rquirement for potatoes is full sun, so whatever you are planting them in it must be in a sunny spot, preferably 6 to 8 hours of sun per day.

Now about the potato seeds. As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, the seed is an actual potato with “eyes” showing. Don’t use a potato from the grocery store because most of them have been treated to keep the eyes from forming.

Always buy the commercial potato seeds you find at the nursery. If the potato seed has multiple eyes on it, you can cut the potato into pieces making sure each piece has an eye.

I recommend putting them in a paper sack for a couple of days to dry out a little before planting. This prevents a mildew problem in case we get a lot of rain this spring.

If planting in the garden, make a small trench and place the seeds with the eyes up. Cover with about 3 to 4 inches of soil. When they have sprouted, start adding a little soil to the base of the plant and continue this process as they grow. This gives the plant a larger underground area to make room for more potatoes to form.

As the plant matures, it will be in a small mound of soil. The same process applies when planting in a container. Only plant one seed in each container unless it is pretty large. Again, as the plant grows, add a bit of soil to the base, mounding it up towards the top of the container.

OK, I’m out of space again, but that will get us started on the potatoes. We will talk about harvesting later on. And go ahead and plant those onion sets!

Have a great Welcome Back, pray for warm weather, and always… Enjoy the Earth!

Diana