We’d like to contend that potatoes are one of the most fun—if not the most fun—vegetables you can grow. They grow lush and quickly, and digging them out of the soil at harvest time is like searching for for buried treasure. If potatoes are on your must-grow list this year, here are tips for getting the best harvest possible.
1. Sprout Your Potatoes First
If you allow a sprout to form on your potatoes prior to putting them in the ground, this will give you a jumpstart on the growing season (much like starting your seeds indoors). The sprouts will come out of the eyes of the potato, and let them grow about 1/2 to 1 inch before you plant.
2. Quarter Seed Potatoes For A Larger Harvest
It’s not necessarily to plant the seed potato in its entirety into the ground. Instead, you can section it into several pieces, in essence multiplying the number of seed potatoes you have on hand. Make sure each potato section has one to two sprouts (or eyes) and don’t cut them down to much smaller than a chicken’s egg.
3. Hill Your Potatoes
Hilling your potatoes as they grow helps prevent potatoes growing near the soil’s surface from turning green, which will happen if they’re exposed to light. Green potatoes are toxic to eat, thus aren’t usable.
4. Load Up On Bone Meal
A high-phosphorus fertilizer is good for root crops because it will encourage root and flower production. Bone meal is a great natural fertilizer option to use on your potato beds. When you plant your potatoes, add a little granular bone meal overtop of the soil covering the potato seed, so that when it rains, the fertilizer is dispersed into the soil, providing lasting nutrition to your crop.
5. Add Some Epsom Salt
Also add some epsom salt to the soil when planting to help provide a boost of magnesium that will help build cell walls of the potato.
With these simple tips you’ll be well on your way to growing a healthy potato crop that you can put in your root cellar and eat off of for several months of the year.