by Texas Homesteader
Like many of you, my veggie garden is the focus of much of my energy lately. After a long winter’s sleep it’s now time to pull back the old mulch that has protected the soil over the cold months and pull any spring weeds that are threatening to take over.
I purchased a five-pound bag of red seed potatoes weeks ago and It’s finally time for me to get them into the soil.
Last year I sectioned off a wasted corner of my enclosed garden and raised up a section there to plant potatoes. There are only two of us here so for now this produces an acceptable quantity of potatoes although I see myself expending this bed in the future.
NOTE: These Days I prefer to plant my seed potatoes in a trough. It’s even easier to harvest them that way!
But the procedure is the same as planting in the garden. Read on, dear friends…
So to prepare to plant I pulled any wayward grass/weeds and raked the area smooth. Bermuda grass is a constant battle for me. Great grazing forage, not so great in the garden! But the soil in this bed is beautiful this year.
Next I cut the seed potatoes into chunks with at least two eyes (ie: sprouts) in each chunk. Then I allowed them to air dry for a couple of days to callous the cut areas.
This keeps the potato from rotting as easily in the soil.
When I got a warm day to play outside I took these pieces into the garden and placed them firmly into the now prepared bed. The soil was still slightly moist and perfectly loose. I placed them pretty close together – probably closer than recommended. That’s just me – flying by the seat of my pants!
Then I pressed them lightly into the soil and covered them with soil. Potatoes rely on loose soil to make an abundance of potatoes so I don’t plant them too deep. I then lightly covered the soil with reserved grass clippings to keep the soil from drying out during our typical windy spring weather.
Side note: I love the old Bois D’Arc posts I used to angle this raised bed. They were originally old fence posts in the barn paddock and when we tore down the rotting wood and corrugated steel we kept the posts with the intent to repurpose them. Love it! You can see that story here.
Anyway, when all was planted I gave the ground a light sprinkle of rainwater to finish up.
These potatoes will sprout soon and as they grow I will continue to cover 80% of the height of the plant with grass clippings or spent hay until it blooms.
The more you can keep the stem itself covered, the more potatoes will be made along that stem.
When the plant dies around the end of June I’ll take the garden fork and easily pull my fresh red potatoes out of the soil and enjoy the home-grown goodness!
My Favorite Garden Hacks
- Easy Garden Planning Spreadsheet
- Getting A Jump: Planting An Indoor Greenhouse
- Repurposed Cardboard Seed-Starting Pots
- 3-Sister’s Garden – The Original Companion Planting
- Low-Cost Vegetable Gardening
- Planting A Large Galvanized Trough
- Using Cheap Biodegradable Weed Block
- Tricking Birds AWAY From Your Strawberry Plants
- Easy Compost For A Healthy Garden
- Propping Tender Seedlings
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For The Garden
- Homestead Hack: Remember Where You Planted Seeds
- How Vegetable Gardening Can Change Your Life!
- Easy Deep-Soak Watering
- Planting Potatoes In Galvanized Trough
- Planting A Blueberry Bush In Galvanized Tub
- Stevia – Growing Your Own Sweetener!
- How I Use EcoBricks In The Garden
Great inspiration to get going on our garden! Thanks for linking up at The Four Seasons Blog Hop! Sandra from Scrumptilicious 4 You! We would love to have you come back next week!
My son’s elementary school has a garden. I convinced (although it wasn’t hard to do) them to plant potatoes to donate to a local food pantry. I think the kids will have fun with the planting and harvesting and it is for a good cause!
How awesome Kat. It’s very cool that children are being shown the joys & benefits of not only gardening but giving to others as well. ~TxH~
We’re actually getting our garden ready to go for the season. I completely sympathize with the bermuda grass! We’ve had our gardens going for three years now, and it still grows through. Thanks for the tips on the potatoes. We will definitely be putting them to use.
Erin – there’s just got to be a secret to keeping bermuda grass out. There just HAS to be! Once I figure it out my gardening life will be blissful… ~TxH~
We are so anxious to start our garden, but the ground is still covered here in WI with snow! My mom wants to plant potatoes this year – we’ll see how it goes!
Many of us are so anxious for spring after such a horrible winter. Fingers crossed that spring comes for you soon! ~TxH~
Careful Anna, gardening is addictive! Good luck with your garden this year. ~TxH~
Hi there! We tried growing potatoes last year, but were overrun with ants! Got any ideas for ant prevention that is safe to use around potatoes? Thanks for the help.
Samantha, I struggle with ants in the garden as well – FIRE ANTS! I’ve used diatomaceous earth with only moderate success. Boiling water when it’s not too close to the veggies with only moderate success as well. Anyone have any suggestions?? ~TxH~
I tried potatoes in a tower last year and was excited to try it. I loved eating them! Thanks for sharing this!
I’ve heard about growing potatoes in a tower but I’ve never tried it before. Hummmm… ~TxH~
I love your potato bed! I planted mine nearly as close as you did. With limited space, I decided it would be worth the try! Thanks for sharing.
I agree Karen – plus these were the smaller red potatoes so they usually don’t take quite as much room as the larger potatoes do. I do love fresh home-grown red potatoes! ~TxH~
We have been using old tires for planting potatoes in for years now. Start with one tire and keep just a couple of leaves above the soil as they climb toward the sun. Keep adding tires until the top dies, usually about 4 tires high. You can grow them easily on a patio, the tires hold moisture and heat from the sun. At the end of the season. all of the potatoes will be in a column ready to lift into a trash can of sawdust for storage over the winter. We did try straw one year instead of dirt but the potatoes, although still tasty, turned out looking like carrots. Apparently they need a certain amount of compaction to keep them round.
Dennis, I’ve heard of planting potatoes in tires, although I’ve never tried it before. Thanks for sharing the instructions. ~TxH~
Your welcome. We are continuosly experimenting with different methods using various methods and materials. We actually started back in the 70’s. This year I will be substituting about 1/2 the soil with shredded paper from the paper shredders at work. The worms like it and we currently use it for nesting materials for the chicken coop as well as spreading on the bottom for easy cleanup. We were tired of constantly replacing the straw in the nest boxes as the hens would spot a seed or two and start scratching to find more, kicking it out of the nest box. With the shredded paper, there is no searching because they don’t see anything to scratch for and it gets kicked out less. The paper that does get kicked out gets shoveled out of the coop and into the compost pile for easy and fast composting. Just a thought if you work in an office and are tossing your paper shreddings away.
Oh Dennis, using shredded paper for 1/2 the soil for your potatoes – very smart (and recycling in it’s most basic form) We just started raising chickens for the first time, they’re only a month old or so now. We have lots to learn about the nesting box material, etc. We don’t have access to shredded paper but it’s got my wheels turning… Thanks for sharing. ~TxH~
Although I do have a conduit to the paper shredder, many do also if you just check around. Often insurance companies, banks etc routinely shred their paper and the finer the better. I’m sure they’d give them to you if you asked. A local coffee shop saves all his grinds for those who wish to come and haul them off to their gardens for the worms also.
We were successful with our potatoes for the first time last year. Just like everything else gardening, it is addictive once you taste success! Glad to have you linked up with Mom Tested Family Approved. 🙂
We’ve been successful with potatoes as well Vicki. Fingers crossed for being able to enjoy home-grown new potatoes again this year! ~TxH~
I might use my parent’s garden to do this in May. I don’t have enough space for a potato garden. Why did you choose that potato variety?
I like red potatoes (a pleasant grandmother-grandchild memory) so I always plant that kind just as personal preference to what we eat. My hardware store just had red seed potatoes in a 5# sack so I don’t know the specific name of that variety.
Great post! Thanks for linking up with Everything Gardening! We just planted our potatoes too. Could have planted earlier, but between lots of rain and the whole family going to down sick, we got a few weeks behind. I’m sure they’ll be fine though. And I’ve been desperate to plant SOMETHING to prove to myself that it’s spring! 🙂
Jamie, it’s certainly the cold-n-flu season huh? Hope all in your family are up and around, feeling spunky again in no time! ~TxH~
Potatoes are a new skill for me. I just planted a few this past season, we’ll wait and see what they do.
My experience has been that potatoes are pretty forgiving Jenny. Here’s hoping there’s a nice crop of home-grown potatoes in your near future! ~TxH~
Wow! That looks so easy. I always thought potatoes were much harder to grow. They are on my list for this year if I can find seed potatoes. Thanks for sharing how you do it.
I’ve never had much problem growing potatoes Becky, you should give it a try! Thanks for the hop invite, think I’ll “hop on over”! 🙂 ~TxH~
Few things in life satisfy like growing your own vegetables, flowers fruit, livestock. We’re so spoiled that we can garden for pleasure now instead of survival. A word to the wise would be to learn the old pioneer skills of doing things.
Tammy this is a brilliant post to inspire all of us to give it the old college try! Your soil looks perfect!! Thank you!!
If I may humbly share a helpful hint I recently discovered or the space concious. It is a neat article on Pinterest in the garden section on how to build a “Potato Tower”. Simply taking a piece of metal fence (the easy kind with rectangle shaped wire that bends easily), fashion it into a tube shape and stand upright. Fill with layers of straw, soil, seed potatos to the top and enjoy a right smart amount of potatos grown in a very compact space. A large family could easily have a small fenceline of these towers and the space economy leaves room for other plantings. I was overjoyed to discover the idea and it’s pretty too! But then again beauty is and alway will be in the “potato eye” of the beholder!
“Potato eye of the beholder”. Lol! I was speaking to an acquaintance just today about the method you mentioned. I’ve never grown potatoes this way but I’ll admit I’m intrigued. I may just have to try planting potatoes that way next year. 🙂 ~TxH~
We planted our potatoes a few weeks ago, we’re in zone 9, and they’ve started coming up. We’ll pile straw and leaves over them as they grow and hopefully get a good harvest. There’s 8 of us and we eat about 10lbs of potatoes a week so there’s no way we can grow all our needs but fresh grown potatoes sure do taste good.
That’s awesome Angi – there’s really nothing like home-grown produce. So good and so good FOR you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. ~TxH~
Great tutorial! I’m a first time gardener and need all the help I can get. My potato plants are looking great but I didn’t know to keep covering the stems. Thanks!
Holly, some gardeners say potatoes take up too much garden “real estate” to plant when they’re so cheap to buy at the store, but I say there’s nothing like a potato dug fresh, washed and prepared for supper. I don’t get around to planting potatoes every year but I LOVE it when I do. Give it a try. ~TxH~
I hope you have a bountiful harvest!
Thanks Daisy – my fingers are crossed. ~TxH~
Oh, my! We just got 20cm of snow two days ago and expecting up to 40 tomorrow! Hearing that you planted potatoes already gave me quite a start. Should you be telling this out loud? lol What planting zone are you in?
Sue – LOL! In Wolfe City, Texas we’re in planting zone 8. My potatoes are usually in the ground the end of February but I’ve had my plate extra full so far this year so I’m a little behind. Living in Texas gives us a special opportunity to plant earlier than our friends to the north. Thanks for stopping by. ~TxH~
I learned something about potatoes yesterday. I was doing some internet research about why I might be getting such puny yields from my potatoes even though I hill them up quite high. It turns out that there are different kinds of potato plants–short season and long season. The short season varieties only produce one flush of tubers just above the original “seed” no matter how much they are hilled up. The long season varieties continue to produce new layers of tubers all along the stem of the plant as high as the hill. So one of my favorite varieties of potatoes, Yukon Gold, is a short season variety which explains the disappointing yield last summer.
Wow Cheryl – you’re quite the authority on potatoes – I had no idea. My seed potatoes are typically sold to me from local hardware stores. This year I picked up a 5# lb paper sack of them, they were labeled only “seed potatoes”. I love the red ones so I picked them up & planted. I’ve never paid attention to any names or short / long season and most times just like this year that information isn’t even provided at purchase. Interesting information indeed, and thanks so much for sharing! ~TxH~
Heather, LOL. Might try planting an “indoor greenhouse, I blogged about it here —> http://bit.ly/Y6kZUb I know it pacifies me when I really wanna be out in the garden and it’s not warm enough. PLUS you can plant seedlings out there instead of just seeds so you get a jump-start. Check it out. ~TxH~
EVIL! it is brisk 35 degrees here! I so wanted to be planting! I may ave mentioned it but its the first year I am going to do a garden and my kids are so excited!! I thought spring break would be perfect BUT its so cold! Maybe an indoor project!?!? Thanks for sharing at Frugalfitfamily.com!
Last year was the first year we had success at growing potatoes. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that we were better at mounding around the plants last year. I didn’t realize until reading your post that we probably should mound even more. I want even more this year. They are soooo good. We just ate our last ones two nights ago, and here in Indiana, we can’t plant them for a while still. TALU
I used to plant potatoes each year and I prefer the reds (it’s a make-me-smile grandmother memory) But when we started this new garden I knew I needed to amend the soil for a year or so before I tried planting them here. Last year was pretty successful but judging on the soil texture this year will be even better! ~TxH~
I have some fond memories of harvesting potatoes as a child…well maybe fond isn’t the correct word. What I’ve seen of your place is gorgeous and I could enjoy spending the rest of my life on that little plot of land. Thanks for sharing! TALU 😉
You lost me a two eyes on each potato. Just kidding – fortunately I knew what you meant but that’s how far removed I am from any gardening parts. This was an interesting read though! TALU
LOL Kenya – I guess I should go to more explanation, I can see how that might be confusing! ~TxH~
Thanks for your kind words Kenya. I actually do have fond memories of digging potatoes as a child with my grandmother. It was like Easter-Egg Hunting underground – LOL. I think those great memories may be one of the key reasons I want to make sure to plant them in my own garden. ~TxH~
I am SO jealous it is warm enough to start planting outside… we just got another 6 inches of snow in MA last night – it feels like spring will never come!! I am pinning this for warmer weather!
Here in NE Texas I usually plant my potatoes the last week in February but I’m certainly running behind this year. I’ve been hitting the garden lots these days but there’s still a ranch to run so it’s hit & miss – hoping for more garden time today. I know I’ll get caught up someday! LOL Thanks for stopping by Kristin. ~TxH~