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Potato Bar – Planting & Harvesting Care Guide

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Potato Bar

Potato Bar at Greenhurst

One of the first food crops you can plant in the spring is potatoes! They may be planted as soon as the ground is dry enough to dig and will do well if planted four weeks before the last frost.

When planting your potato crop be sure to buy “certified” seed potatoes which have been inspected to assure they are disease free. Greenhurst always offers only the finest seed potatoes available. Do not plant home grown potatoes or potatoes purchased in a grocery store produce aisle.

Be adventurous, we try to offer a wide variety of potatoes so you can sample a few new crops and delicious new taste treats.

Sprouting

Prepare seed potatoes by exposing them to light so they will form growing shoots or sprouts from the eyes. This is done by spreading the potatoes in a sunny place indoors for two to three weeks before planting. Potatoes that have been sprouted before planting will be encouraged to root quickly and mature earlier than those that have not been sprouted. This process is called “chitting”.

Cut & Drying

After the potatoes have sprouted, cut each seed potato into pieces with one or two eyes on each piece. Spread these pieces out in a single layer for a few days to allows the flesh to dry. The dry flesh is less likely to rot than raw surfaces.

Preparing Your Furrows

After the soil had dried enough to be worked, till or break it up into fine soil. Hoe each furrow about three to four inches deep. Each furrow or row should be about 30 to 36 inches apart. If you are planting a raised bed the furrows can be 12 inches apart. Enrich the furrow with 1 to 2 inches of compost or bagged dehydrated manure. You may use well aged manure, but never use fresh manure, it may cause disease. Mix it with the soil in the bottom of the furrow.

Planting

Place the seed potato pieces approx. 10-12 inches apart in the furrow. Raised bed planting can be closer. Place them cut-side down so the eye faces upward. Press them firmly in the furrow bed and cover with about 3 inches of fine soil. Mark your rows so you don’t plant over your potatoes.

Hilling

The new crop of potatoes will form above the planted seed piece. Hilling them up will prevent them from greening from the sun. Simply hoe or rake up soil around each plant from the surrounding area. Bank the soil high over the plant leaving only 4-5 inches of stem showing. Sometimes it is easier to do your hilling after rototilling or loosening the soil with a garden fork.

Harvesting

After the tops are dead or have been cut off, leave the potatoes in the ground for a week or two to cure, while the skins toughen. Harvest in the morning, the idea is to keep the potatoes cool at all times. Place your pitch fork outside the hill to avoid stabbing. If the soil is wet, let them air dry for a few hours before gathering. Do not put scabby, cut or damaged potatoes in the same sacks as the good ones. They will rot and rot others with them. It’s good to grade them as your harvest, separate large bakers from small steamers. Firm skin means longer storage, a factor when deciding which to eat first.

PDF - Download & Print Gardening Guides – Potatoes (Download & Print)