This Earth Day don't be a couch potato... Go out and grow them instead!

April 22, 2020

Written by: Aly Besing, VU Agribusiness Student

Living in an ever-changing world, there are always new trends and endeavors to learn about and be involved in. With food and where it comes from being a hot topic as of late, people are growing ever inquisitive about their food and its processes. With the consumer being more curious about their food and how it is grown, that poses a new responsibility to agriculturalists. This new responsibility is education. In this article, there will be steps to grow and maintain your own potatoes. Because who does not love a baked potato with their steak, french fries with their burger, or home-made mashed potatoes?

 

My potatoes in their home in my sunroom

I have personally been growing potatoes for about a year now and they have turned out amazing.  I always have plenty of potatoes for my family and friends and it feels great to eat and enjoy something you have grown yourself. I have 60 potato plants currently but one can grow more or less with the methods I am about to discuss.

Here are the supplies you will need:

-1 five-gallon bucket

-Small rocks / pebbles

-Potting soil / dirt

-Water

-Seed potatoes (can be purchased at any farm store or most grocery stores) (i.e. Rural King or Tractor -Supply)

Steps to planting your potatoes:

Put 1 inch of pebbles in the bottom of your five-gallon bucket

Next, add water just barely covering the pebbles

Then, put in 3-4 inches of potting soil mixed with dirt on top of the water and rocks

Then place your potatoes (up to 4 in one bucket) into the dirt (eye of potato facing down towards the dirt)

Next, cover the potatoes with 3-4 more inches of the potting soil dirt mixture

Now, give a small amount of water to the top and set in the sunlight

Steps to maintaining your potatoes:

Water every 3rd day

Make sure the plants receive plenty of sunlight every day (I usually set mine outside between 12-4 p.m.)

Once the potatoes start to grow, the tops of your new potatoes may start to pop through the top of the dirt, you will need to cover the tops with more dirt so they are not visible (1 inch typically more dirt)

Harvesting your potatoes:

It will take about 70-120 days for your potatoes to be ready to harvest.

Once the green leafy top part of your potato has died and turned yellow / brown, you are probably very close.

Pull your plant by the top and rub your fingers across the skin of the potato. If the potato skin easily rubs off, it is not ready.  If the skin remains on the potato after rubbing it, your potato plant is ready!

Yay! Now it’s time to enjoy that spud you've been nurturing! If you would like to continue growing potatoes, grab a few from your harvest and replant them following the same steps above. They will be the gift that keeps on giving. 

 

 

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