How to GROW potatoes, when and why.
Potatoes is one of the easiest vegetables to grow.
a) A vertical container: that's a large pot, dust bin or bucket with a few drainage holes, if outside you can also use stacked car tires.
b) Potato tubers: you can get these at garden centres and pet shops.
c) Good compost: In London some city farms give away compost for free, we got ours from Hackney City farm.
1. Add 10-15cm of gravel or crocks (old broken pots etc) at the bottom of the container, it helps with drainage when watering,
- Add another 10cm of good compost and place your potatoes 15-30cm apart with the sprouts pointing upwards and cover them with soil.
- Water well, and wait.
2. When shoots and leaves appear above the soil, cover the plant with more compost just leaving a tip of the plant above the soil.
3. Keep watering well, and as the plant grows keep covering it with soil, each layer of soil will grow a layer of potatoes.
4. When you reach the top leave the plant to grow and harvest after flowering.
If you plant 'earliers' or salad potatoes you are ready to harvest 10-13 weeks after planting.
For Maincrop potatoes, harvest 15-20 weeks after planting.
How to harvest?
Easy, get you hand into the soil and test how big the potatoes are, looking good? then just turn the pot inside out and get ready for potato salad!
Plant your potatoes after frost, in the North hemisphere that's in Mid-March or early April, in subtropical zones plant any time of the year.
FULL MOON is the best time to sow root vegetables, like potatoes.
For our ancestors, the moon, the stars and the sun was the most reliable method for measuring time, it was also noticed that different plants grow better when they are planted during different phases of the moon, it's related to the the rising and falling of the moisture in the ground and in the plants, fascinating.
'Plant potatoes on 'GOOD FRIDAY'.
But then came Christians re-inventing history, and it's an old saying that you plant potatoes on good Friday , why? well...
Potatoes come from Peru (yes, the Inca empire, great masters of Astrology, the same guys who built Machu Pichu) and have been harvested in South America for more than 6,000 years, in the 16th century the Spanish conquistadores introduce them to Europe, but potatoes were not mentioned in the bible so many people thought they were the devil's food. In Ireland (where potatoes were the staple food crop) they were planted on Good Friday on land blessed with Holy Water.
Another simpler way of looking at it is: plant on bank holiday April, harvest on bank holiday August, bingo!