Potato Bag Update…

April 28, 2009

There are so many things going on in my garden right now I'm having a hard time deciding what to post about. I have some great shots of shelling and cooking fava beans...but I might save that for my next mag article. The roses have been glorious. I'll post some new shots of them soon. My 'Pat Austin' has been so beautiful this spring and 'Perle d' Or' is overflowing with blooms. What to post, what to post...

Potatobags So I'll update you on the potatoes. These are the fiber potato growing bags I'm testing. Despite all the cool, rainy humid weather we've been having this spring, the potatoes are quite happy. I know I might be jinxing myself by saying this, but no fungal issues in sight...so far...at the moment...knock on particle board! This year I planted 'Yukon Gold' and, I think...'Kennebec'. I'm really blanking out on the varieties right now. I've been using these bags for 2 years now and they are still in excellent condition. No break down on them yet. The potatoes have been hilled up twice so far. I'm hoping for a bang up crop of 'Yukon Golds' this year...they are sooooo good.

If you haven't used bags or container of some kind to grow potatoes before, you simply start out by filling the bottom 1/3 of the container with a loose compost soil mix, plant your seed potatoes (not too deep - and dust them with garden sulfur first). Then when the shoots are about 6-8 inches tall, begin to hill them up with a mixture of pine straw and compost. You fill this mixture in right up against the stems of your plants, 3-4 inches at a time. This is where the potatoes will develop so it needs to be loose but protected from light. Continue to hill up until you've reached the top of the pot. Then your plants will usually start blooming early summer, which means they are starting to produce potatoes. Don't water plants too much in the early spring if you're getting rainfall. Potatoes are very susceptible to fungal diseases. Water at the base of the plants rather than on the foliage and only in the early morning. You can pull away the mixture to harvest baby potatoes in early summer (make sure to put back the straw) or wait to harvest in late fall for the bigger potatoes. Foliage will begin to yellow in late fall once cooler temps arrive, at which time you'll stop watering plants, allow the foliage to die down, then simply dump out the container to harvest your spuds. MMMMM, mashed potatoes.


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