- Decide whether you would like to grow your potatoes in a garden or in a container. (We chose the container method for easy harvesting and protection against underground pests and varmints).
- If you choose the container method, what container do you want to use? One popular method is to use a plastic trash can. You can drill holes into the bottom for drainage, and put the lid down when you’re concerned about frost. We decided to use re-usable grocery bags. They drain well, are small, and we already had them!
- In mid-March, choose what kind of potatoes you would like to grow. There are more varieties than you could ever imagine. (We chose Russets, Yukon Gold, and Red Potatoes).
- There are many places to order your “seed potatoes”. Catalogs like Seedsavers http://www.seedsavers.org/Items.aspx?hierId=88 are certified organic and offer many varieties. You can also purchase seed potatoes at farm supply stores. I wouldn’t recommend using store-bought potatoes as some websites recommend because of the sprout inhibitors I mentioned.
- Roll the edges down on about 1/3 of your bag. Fill most of the remaining 2/3 of the bag full with potting soil or garden soil. (We added compost too!) Place in a location that receives full-sun.
- Now, plant your potatoes! Place each seed potato with the sprouts pointed up and cover with about 2’’ soil. We fit four “seeds” in our little grocery sacks in a square formation. Water, and watch for sprouts! Today is April the 14th and our little potatoes have been growing for about 4 weeks now. It’s important to keep them damp – but not so wet as to foster fungal growth (remember the Blight Blog?)
- As the potato plant grows, it will need to be “hilled”. This keeps the potato from sun exposure and prevents it from “greening” – a process that can render it slightly toxic! To “hill” the potatoes, add about 2” of soil to the base of the plant. It’s OK to cover the leaves. You may need to unroll your bag for a greater depth. Continue to do this as the plant grows until it flowers.
- Decide how big you want your potato. For “baby potatoes” harvest just after the flower appears. For fully mature potatoes, wait until the entire plant has died back! 9) Days to harvest can be a total of 60 to 120 days, depending on the variety you choose!