Hey friends! Today I have a new adventure to share with you: Growing Potatoes! I have always wondered how potatoes are grown, and after researching it quite a bit, I thought it would be fun to give it a try this year.
WHY GROW POTATOES IN A 5 GALLON BUCKET?
Potatoes can be grown in a garden bed, but because you mound up the soil as they grow, it’s more practical to grow them in buckets. When you start off, you only have about 6″ of soil total in your bucket, and as the potato plant grows, you keep adding more soil to the bucket, covering the stem. Something magical happens as you do this. You can’t see it, but the bucket fills up with tubers and when the plant dies, you can knock over the bucket (or dig through it) and you will have a crop of home grown potatoes. Awesome, right?!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
It’s important to get disease free potatoes- because you don’t want to introduce blight to your garden. Some people risk it and just use organic potatoes from the grocery store, but those potatoes are usually sprayed to prevent them from sprouting eyes, and there is no guarantee that they are disease free. So I got my certified seed potatoes from Gurney’s. But I know that Tractor Supply and sometimes Lowes and Home Depot carry them.
-Food Grade Five Gallon Buckets:
I got mine from Lowes. I can never find them in the store, so this is something I like to buy through pick up. Our family goes through probably a good 2+ bags of potatoes a week, so I wanted to plant a bunch. We ended up going with 12 buckets.
I got THIS potato fertilizer to promote a higher yield of potatoes.
I didn’t get too nerdy with the soil, but from what I’ve looked up, potatoes prefer soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. They like well-drained, loose soil. I added some wood ash from our fire pit into the mix, and will add the fertilizer I mentioned above once the plants are sprouted.
To get started on your crop of potatoes, make sure your seed potatoes have sprouts. If they don’t have a ton, put them in a space with some good light to promote healthy eyes.
Once they have sprouted, and your garden is past the danger of frost, you can slice them up. You want to leave 2-3 eyes per potato.
If you have smaller potatoes, you don’t have to cut them. But cutting them up into 2″ or larger cubes helps insure a larger crop out of less seed potatoes.
We are growing three varieties. One large, one medium, and one small.
You SHOULD NOT plant them right after cutting. They need to scab over for a day or two. More on that later.
If your potatoes have any moldy looking spots, DO NOT use those ones for planting. You don’t want to introduce any mold to your crop of potatoes.
Here’s the potato food I will be using. I’m going to wait to apply it until the plants are sprouted in my buckets.
We used 12 food grade buckets, and I drilled 9-10 holes on the bottom of each one. You want to make sure your potatoes are getting good drainage becuase they do not like soggy soil.
Next, I filled them with 4″ of soil.
Here you can see the potatoes after two days of scabbing after cutting. I just kept them on the counter with the cut sides up so they could dry.
These babies are ready for planting!
I added 2-3 into each bucket. You want a high yield, so 2 seed potatoes per 5 gallon bucket is perfect.
Once you have them in the bucket, add about 2 more inches of soil to completely cover the potatoes.
Two weeks later, you will see the magic happen.
As they grow, continue to mound up soil around the stems (not the leaves), until the whole bucket is full of soil. Make sure there is always soil covering the tubers. Once the plant dies, you will know it’s time to knock over the bucket and harvest your potatoes.
Additional Things to Know:
-Potatoes DO NOT like to be planted next to tomatoes. So make sure to keep those two plants away from each other, or you could end up with blight.
-Potatoes DO NOT like soggy soil. So don’t over water them.
–DO NOT let your potatoes tubers be exposed to too much sun- keep them covered with your soil or they will turn green due to chlorophyll, and possibly produce a toxins that are harmful to eat.
That’s it for now, but I will be sure to update you on how it’s going later in the growing season. I’m so excited to be doing this!
Have a wonderful, garden filled day friends!
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Want to save your pumpkin seeds for planting next year? Go HERE for my seed saving tips!