by Texas Homesteader ~
Here in NE Texas it’s the time of year when many gardeners are thinking about planting those potatoes! I’m a big fan of growing potatoes, especially since they’re such an easy crop to grow.
In past years I’ve planted potatoes in a raised bed right in my garden. Of course that worked fine but this year I’ve decided to do something different.
Remember I’m a big fan of growing an Edible Landscape? Well not only will this different way of planting potatoes give me some effortless beautiful greenery on my back porch during the summer months but it will also help make harvesting those potatoes so easy.
C’mon, I’ll show ya!
First, flashback to last week: Although I like to have my potatoes planted mid February, I’d not been able to find the reds I wanted to plant this year.
A good friend & I were talking about our gardens & I lamented that I’d searched the feed & garden stores but I could only find basic whites for seed potatoes. But RancherMan & I much prefer the red ones.
“Where might they have red seed-potatoes for sale?” I asked her. She mentioned there was a place in Dallas where she bought hers, but I really don’t want to drive all the way to Dallas for my planting potatoes.
Finding Cheap Planting Potatoes
Then I thumped my forehead. DUH! I’ve got reds sprouting like crazy in my pantry right now!
Although seed potatoes typically have more eyes on them to make them more efficient for planting, you can plant the regular ole potatoes that are sprouting in your pantry.
“Whaaaaaa??” you say? No, REALLY, you can!! And now what I thought would be a few wasted potatoes will actually provide me a whole crop at harvest. I’ll plant those sprouting red potatoes in a large planter!
So I picked a few red potatoes from the pantry that were sprouting the most. Then I cut them into about quarters, making sure there were sprouting eyes in each section.
Those sprouts will soon become my new fledgling potato plants.
But now that they’re cut they’re not quite ready to plant. First I need to cure the cut edges by leaving them exposed to the air for a bit. Curing the edges will help prepare the potatoes for planting.
I’ve also read that after curing the cut potatoes for a day, dusting them with wood ash will help protect them from chewing pests. I’ve never done that before but I figured I’d give it a try. (has anyone else ever done that? Did it help?)
Anyway, after they’d cured another day with the dusting of wood ash it was finally time to plant them.
I have an old galvanized metal trough at the edge of our back porch. It’s a hefty 3-ft long by 2-ft wide and two feet deep.
I use it every year to plant different veggies for fun. But my trough planter already sported some sprouted garlic cloves I planted last year so. So first I dug up the garlic & relocated them to my veggie garden.
Planting Potatoes In A Trough
Now it’s finally time to plant my potatoes! I fluffed up the soil a bit and placed my cured potato pieces cut-side-down on top of the dirt. Then I pressed them gently to make sure there was good soil contact. At last it’s time to cover them.
Y’all know my battle cry: “Use Whatcha Got”. You see, the cattle oftentimes waste hay around their hay rings. That wasted hay is often scooped up for various uses.
I use it to lay thick mulch around my trees during the heat of summer. (especially since we continue to be in a multi-year drought)
The hay mulch helps moderate the soil temperature & discourage weed grown as well as preserve moisture for my trees.
I also use this spent hay in my garden to mulch my veggie plants. It has the same benefits in my garden as it does around my trees.
But on this day I’ll be using wasted hay to drastically increase the harvest of my red potatoes. “How??” you say?
Increasing The Potato Harvest
Well first I’ll use spent hay to only cover these planted pieces so they can do their thaaaang. I simply lay down a thick layer over the top of my potato sections.
As the potato vines grow, I’ll add another layer of hay leaving only the tops of the greenery showing. That’s because those vines will produce potatoes as long as they’re covered up,.
I’ll repeat this process all season long, there’s plenty of room in this trough for growth.
And because the hay is so loose the newly-forming potatoes won’t be restricted the way they can sometimes be when planted in dirt.
When it’s time to harvest I simply remove the hay I’ve piled on all season and pull up the potato plants to fetch the potatoes.
It should be easy and I’m looking forward to a bountiful harvest… of RED potatoes!
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
- Planting A Large Galvanized Trough
- 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!
- Keeping Potted Plants Watered
- Planting A Blueberry Bush In Galvanized Tub
- Stevia – Growing Your Own Sweetener!
- How I Use EcoBricks In The Garden
- Compost Old Confidential Documents
- Repurposing A Coffee Can For Deep-Soak Watering
- How Leaves Benefit Your Garden
- My Simple, Zero-Waste Herb Drying Setup
- How To Grow Fresh Salad Greens In All Seasons
MORE Gardening Posts
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I accidentally grew potatoes in a compost pile once. I threw some sprouted potatoes in the bushel basket I was using for compost, filled the basket with compost matter and went on vacation for two weeks. When I came back I had plants, so I just kept watering them. In the fall when we finally had a frost and the foliage started dying back, I picked the basket up (the bottom had rotted out) and out rolled potatoes!
I’ve thought about planting potatoes when they get like this, but haven’t done it yet. Thanks for the tip about curing them. I probably wouldn’t have done that. Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop!
We have done straw potatoes before and it was fine. We have what looks like snow fencing, the orange stuff with big holes you see on the side of the road for winter, only it’s green and the holes are circles, from Garden Supply. Easy set up and take down.
I’m up in northwest Oklahoma, and need to get my potatoes planted…I like the trough idea, though! Followed over here from Simple Saturdays Blog Hop.
Thanks for the great tutorial!
We are in the same area as you and didn’t get our potatoes in until this Saturday either. I grow mine in a raised bed, but we do “hill up” with spent hay from the horses and sheep. Thanks, for sharing! It is great to follow along with someone else’s garden in the area. We only moved here from Mansfield/Arlington a couple of years ago.
I didn’t know you could grow them in tubs! I have such a brown thumb, I don’t know if I’d manage, but I’d love to have our own potatoes, we love eating them!! Thanks for sharing all these tips at Sweet Inspiration this weekend!
I expect a nice harvest from these potatoes Katrin, only after the rich green foliage decorates my back porch in the trough. Yea! ~TxH~
I’m not clear on the “curing” part -what specifically did you do to cure them?
When I cut the potatoes, I allowed the raw edges to dry out (or cure) for a day or so. This helps seal the cut edges somewhat and helps keep the potato pieces from just rotting underground. ~TxH~
One thing that has always stopped me from using hay as mulch is that I’ve thought the hayseeds would take hold and grow, which would frankly annoy me. I hadn’t thought to just keep mulching instead of mixing it in the soil! I have a LOT of wasted hay (stupid cows & adorable but messy bunnies), maybe now I can divert some from the hot compost pile this year & see how it goes. Thanks for making me consider it from a different angle.
Us too, cattle can waste a lot of hay! I’m constantly using spent hay for mulch, especially around trees & such. The heavy layers of hay not only moderate those soil temperatures but also conserve moisture and help the microbiological magic underground too! ~TxH~
I grow potatoes in large plastic tubs and half 55-gallon plastic barrels. I also grow them in the soil in my cliffside compost patch. The potatoes in the tubs and barrels grow the biggest because I can water them more frequently, especially in the summer. The ones up on the cliff are more “feral” but they do give me nice small ones perfect for steaming cooking whole. I plant and save enough potatoes for us to eat through the winter and plenty to let sprout in the spring to plant. I haven’t purchased seed potatoes for five or more years. I save smaller ones to plant whole, but I do cut some of the larger ones like you mentioned. I’ve never used ash on the cut edges before. I’ll give that a try. – Margy
Thanks for the motivation to get started planting this year. #HomeMattersParty
Oh, the memories. That is exactly how my parents planted potatoes and always had a good crop for family of 6. My parents Never bought seed potatoes. They used what they had; potatoes that had already spouted. ( “use whatcha got” :} )
Best of luck on your ‘spud’ growing
Sulfur can also be used if a person doesn’t have wood ash.
dip each piece in a container of sulfur powder, covering all the cuts, or place the pieces in a bag, add a few tablespoons of powder, close the bag and gently shake it until all pieces are coated. Gloves and a dust mask are good precautions, since the powder can cause skin and lung irritation
I can’t wait to harvest these reds, Colleen! ~TxH~