Growing Spuds.

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Growing Spuds.

Postby Shotgun Paul. » Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:00 am

Morning All,

I am thinking about growing some spuds but I dont know a thing about growing them.
Can anybody help me out with suggestions and ideas.
Any help would be great.

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Postby Kerrie » Thu Apr 21, 2005 2:07 pm

Hi Paul,
It's recommended that you purchase seed potatoes from a nursery rather than planting old spuds from the pantry, so that you don't introduce diseases into the soil. That said, I planted some seed potatoes and some 'overgrown' old potatoes last year and both came up beautifully and I got good crops without disease.

Plant the potatoes a few inches deep in friable manured soil, and once they sprout greenery and are well established start to mound dirt up against the stems. This is because more roots grow from the stem base, so you want to keep a good covering of soil there to avoid the potatoes turning green with chlorophyll or they're poisonous.

Don't let the soil dry out completely, and you can pretty much ignore them for six months! After a few months you can grub around and harvest early potatoes without disturbing the main plant - this is called 'bandicooting'.

If you want to save space, because they can take over a gardenbed pretty easily, you can make potato tyre stacks. Get three old car tyres, start with only one and fill it with manured soil. Plant about six potatoes in a circle inside the tyre. Once the greenery is about three feet high, put the next tyre on top, feeding the greenery through the middle, and fill it with soil. Repeat for the third one a few weeks later.

This way your potatoes will grow up rather than down into the soil, and there is no digging to harvest - just lift off the layers and brush away the soil! Do drill some holes for drainage into the walls of the tyres first though, or they hold water and can cause rot.
These can make a fantastic "tyre totem pole" if you get some outdoor paint and brush it over the patterns etched in the tyres. You can even get detailed and paint them in a mosaic pattern with an art brush, depending what pattern your tyres have :) This is a very cheap way of decorating the gardenbed, as some garages will give away old tyres for free because it costs them money to dispose of them.

Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, and fresh mashed or roast potatoes really do taste nicer than bought ones!

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Postby jack » Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:13 pm

i have never worried about seed spuds, the run of the mill ones i buy each week i use, with virus and bugs, is same with all vegies, dont plant them in same spot two harvest in a row.
kerrie had great advice, all i will add is with tyres you can do the same in the vegie patch as well, when planting create them in rows with a ft between each row and a ft between each spud, dig out rills to a ft deep and plant the spuds at the base of these rills. then when you have 10cm or so of height on your plants cover them by a third with straw or soil and keep doing this until you are ready to harvest. when to harvest is easy, when the plants turn yellow and die down, then go for it slowly and look everywhere for the spuds, turf any green ones and hide the small ones for your midnight snacks, i find these the best eating.
also dig potash into the soil before planting and then add to the 1ft spaces between rows once a week for first month.
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