This is part 2 of our new series, “Grow your own Food.” In the part 1, we saw how can we grow tomatoes. Let’s look at Potatoes today.
When you learn how to grow potatoes, space wouldn’t be an issue you have to deal with. Of course, that’s just one of the many benefits in container gardening which most personal growers are into these days.
Growing potatoes in a barrel would be untarnished in the situation stated above as well as when you live in an area with soil that is not suitable for growing potatoes. You also get to maximize your yields since you’ll be producing potatoes in a controlled environment. Also, harvesting would be much easier with potatoes and there wouldn’t be any risk of harming them in the process of shoveling.
Detailed below are the practical steps on growing potatoes:
Prepare the vessel
First, you need to select the barrel you are going to use. A wooden barrel like the whiskey barrels would be ideal for this purpose. However, you can use just about any other as long as its something you can drill holes at the bottom and the sides to allow for a good flow of water. Of course the bigger the barrel, the more potatoes you’ll be able to grow.
Choose the Seed
You can buy seeds from your local nurseries. I strongly advise against using potatoes available in the market as seed potatoes as it is been treated with anti sprouting chemicals. Thus, you won’t be able to expect much yield using those as seed potatoes.
Additionally, I would also advise that you sprout the potatoes first in an egg carton and placing it in cool lightroom out of direct exposure from the sun. After it has germinated then you’ll be ready to plant them in the barrel.
First, you need to fill the barrel with about 6 inches of soil and compost. Then you can plant the seed potatoes or the sprout potatoes in it. Cover it with soil and have it watered to keep the soil moist and damp. It is best to start plant potatoes during the cooler seasons.
Next, once you have seen the sprout to about at least 6 inches tall, you can add another layer of 6 inches soil and compost. Once again, you can plant another layer of sprout. You just need to repeat the process, keeping the soil damp all the while, until the barrel is full.
Another thing, if you want to grow vegetables organically, planting bush beans alongside the potatoes might be a good idea. It will protect potatoes against Colorado potato beetle and in turn, potatoes protect the beans from Mexican bean beetle.
Once the plant turns yellow and dies, it would mean that the potato is ready for harvesting. As I’ve mentioned earlier, harvesting potatoes are much easier as you only have to tip over the barrel and scrutinizing through the soil for your barrel grown potatoes.