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How to Grow Potatoes in Your Garden
Judging by the many ways many types of food can be prepared from potatoes and with the love people show for these foods, getting to know how to grow potatoes is not a bad idea. If you are not a farmer, you may not want to consider the growing of potatoes on a large scale but if you have a small yard or any space of land anywhere, you can grow potatoes for your consumption at home.
The way Americans love potatoes, you would think the root crop is only a native of America but in fact, it is known and highly demanded all around the world. Apart from having potatoes for lunch or dinner, there are other uses that they are put to. Regardless of what you may have plans of using potatoes for, there is a sense of great accomplishment when you use potatoes that you cultivated by yourself. Growing potatoes by yourself will enable you the opportunity of providing a healthy vegetable for your dinner table as well as the opportunity of saving some part of your money that could have been spent buying food in the market.
How Long Does it take for Potatoes to Grow
It is tempting to reap potatoes as soon as possible to enjoy them in meals but different varieties can take anything from 70 to 120 days to grow. So, while the early-season potatoes are going to be able to consume by the top of May or early June, others will need a touch more patience.
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Learning How to Grow Potatoes From Potatoes
Whether you have plans of becoming a big-time farmer of you are just about starting to learn how to grow potatoes by yourself and for yourself alone, you need to have adequate information on the proper methods you must employ. Following the right tips and guides are essential as they are what will enable you to have healthy field crops as well as a bountiful harvest. With more than 500 varieties already in the market, going through the selection process for the variety of potato that is best suited to you and the purpose of your planting is going to be a tough task especially if you don’t have foreknowledge the varieties of potato there are in the market.
Many ways can be used in classifying these potatoes but as a farmer who intends to go into their cultivation for money or as a homeowner who would love to know how to grow potatoes to include them in his garden at home, the different seasons may be used to categorize these potatoes. In the early season, potato varieties like Frontier Russet, Norgold Russet, Russet Norkotah, Norland, Superior, Red Norland, and Dark Red Norland are typical examples of the ones that can do very well. Goldrush, Yukon Gold, Kennebec, and Red Pontiac are examples of the varieties that are excellent for the midseason while All Blue, Russet Burbank, Butte, and Katahdin are the examples of the ones you can grow in the late season. All these varieties have different morphological and aetiological differences and are not the same even though they all bear the group name potato.
For you to be able to grow potatoes, you will have to secure a good plot of land with good soil. There are other methods employed now that allow you to grow potatoes in bags but you will still have to make use of soil. One of the things you must keep at the back of your mind as you begin to learn how to grow potato is, for the good and healthy growth of your potatoes, well-drained and fertile soil is required. Crop rotation or shifting cultivation method should be practiced and the land used for the cultivation of potatoes one in a year should not be used in the succeeding year.
For the best results, you should allow the land to rest for three years. Fertilizer application may however be helpful at some times when the time-lapse can not be afforded. The soil of the land should be groomed to make the pH level average as it has been noted that potatoes do best when they are planted on soils of a 5.0 pH level. The land should not be over-fertilized but where fertilizer application is needed, it should be with an NPK 05-10-10 Fertilizers. Generally, potatoes do not do well in areas that have dry soils, heavy clay loam soils, or shale.
Potatoes can not be regarded as true seeds and they are normally planted from their stem tissues that are called “tubers”. These “tubers” or seed potatoes can be bought from your local garden center or from any reputable company that deals in the cultivation of potatoes. There are some steps you have to take before you can plant seed potatoes. They need to be cut up and dried before you can venture to plant them. Aside from this, you must make sure you buy only certified seed potatoes and never make the mistake of planting homegrown potatoes or those bought from the supermarkets as these may be heavily infested with viruses. These seeds are usually bought two to three weeks before the time of planting during which the seeds would be placed in an area with direct sunlight and watched for two weeks after which they should have begun sprouting.
Well, dried potato seeds with two buds or “eyes” are planted in well-tilled of about 6 to 8-inch depth before planting. Over tilling should be avoided as this may cause sealing off and suffocation of the seeds. These seeds are then planted along furrows at depths of about 2 to 4 inches. Shallow planting although it encourages fast sprouting, it can only be done in dry or sandy soils. One important fact you should take note of as you map out strategies in learning how to grow potato is that the seeds should be planted with the eyes pointing upwards.
When you have a rich field growing with potato plants, you alone can know how much labor has gone in learning how to grow potato, therefore you should do all you can to take care of the field and the harvest from it.