St Patty’s is a great way of remembering to plant White potatoes in your garden!
Irish potatoes, as many people think of them, really originate from the Andes Mountains in South America. St Patties Day helps us remember to get them in the ground in the cool weather they like. Potatoes like loose well worked soil that is rich in nutrients and well drained. Be prepared to amend with compost when planting. Heavy clay soils can be greatly improved by adding some sand. Potatoes do best in a slightly acidic soil (with a pH between 4.8 and 5.4) so please don’t add garden lime.
- Plant seed potatoes (pieces of whole potato or a small whole potato, with at least 2 eyes per piece) close to St Patty’s day. Plant in loose well worked soil.
- If you are cutting up potato pieces for planting, do so a 1-2 days ahead of time to reduce rot.
- Spread and mix in rotted manure or organic compost in the bottom of the trench before planting.
- Plant seed potatoes one foot apart in a 4-inch deep trench, eye side up.
- Practice yearly crop rotation.
- Potatoes need consistent moisture, so water regularly when tubers start to form but make sure the soil has good drainage.
- Hilling should be done before the potato plants bloom, when the plant is about 6 inches tall. Hoe the dirt up around the base of the plant in order to cover the root as well as to support the plant. Bury them in loose soil. The idea is to keep the potato from getting sunburned, in which case they turn green and will taste bitter.
- You will need to hill potatoes every couple of weeks to protect your crop.
- Dig potatoes on a dry day. Dig up gently, being careful not to puncture the tubers. The soil should not be compact, so digging should be easy.
- New potatoes will be ready for harvest after 10 weeks.
- Brush of dirt but don’t wash potatoes until right before you use them.