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How to grow potatoes (part 1)

In the last years, potatoes have been given the label of bad food, because they are one of the most popular meals that you can buy in a fast food restaurant. But the reality is that potatoes are full of nutrients and minerals, they are great for your body and your health and you can cook them in many, many ways. And let's not forget that they are very delicious and that, you can find many healthy recipes in which you can incorporate them.

Potato plant

So growing them in your garden is actually a good idea and that's why, today we want to show you how to successfully do that. Because potatoes are very productive plants, you will need to have a good plan of your garden. First check out how much space you have for this project and see what kind of potatoes you would like to grow. Here is something to also think about: from one pound of seed potato, you will have 10 to 20 pounds of harvest. Also, don't put more potatoes than you need, and remember that in the winter you will need a cool storage place for them.

Getting started with the potatoes

So if you have thought about all these details, let's get started. There are three ways you can plant potatoes: towers, rows and raised beds. They are all productive ways to grow you potatoes, but the tower option will also save space in your garden, where you can plant other vegetables. Here is also something to remember: don't plant the potatoes in a space where you have previously grown plants from the nightshade family, like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

How to grow potatoes

We suggest that you buy seed potatoes instead of using a sprouted potato. Make sure that they have a good quality and they are virus free. You do have the option of keeping the potatoes harvested for next year, but remember that the quality and quantity decreases in time.

Plant them like this:

• the small seed potatoes that have three eyes or less plant them as a whole.

• the larger ones can be cut into chunks (at least one ounce pieces), having at least two eyes on each section you are going to plant.

You can plant the seed potatoes once the cut side or sides have dried and are sealed, in amended soil, 4 to 6 inches deep and 9 to 12 inches apart. If you have decided to grow them in rows, use your hoe to mound dirt over the sections that have rhizomes as they sprout and then grow. The secret to a healthy plant is to not cover more than a quarter of a vine at a time, but cover it as it grows, so that the sun won't reach the potatoes. If you are planting the potatoes in a tower, put six inches of soil in the beginning, and as they grow, keep adding layers so the potatoes will be covered.

Growing potatoes

Helpful tips

• plant the potatoes just before the last frost so that the vines can come out in the cool spring air.

• keep the soil constantly moist and don't let it go dry.

• when you grow them in a tower, keep the potato plants no taller than 3 feet tall, so the watering process is easier.

• there are many diseases and pests that can affect the potatoes so having a healthy, fertilized soil and a good seed stock will help you have a good harvest.

• harvest them when the tops dry and they fall over.

• cure potatoes by spreading them in a single lair on newspapers, sheets or sacks.

• you can store them as soon as their skin is dry.

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