In order for new potato tubers to be given space to expand and grow, the soil must be mounted around the stems of growing potato plants. Hilliness should occur once or twice during the growing season. Use a hoe to pull the soil around the stem of the growing potato plant, leaving only the upper leaves exposed. Hilling prevents the shoulders Kartoffeln anbauen of baby potatoes from peeking through the ground. The peels of exposed potato tubers become green (“greening”); Green potatoes contain a slightly toxic, bitter-tasting substance called solanine. Hilling also prevents weeds from growing around potatoes and ensures that water does not settle on growing potatoes, but slides down the hills.
If you plant a large seed potato with more than a pair of eyes, which are the small bumps that grow into shoots, it’s not likely to yield a bountiful harvest. It will lead to a single plant with many stems, each competing for sunlight and nutrients. For large, healthy potatoes, cut your seed potatoes into pieces with no more than three eyes. After you make the cuts, place them in the sun or in a room that is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit for three to five days.
To germinate seed potatoes before planting, spread them in a single layer in a bright, aerated place where the temperature remains about 60°F or warmer. The ISU Extension Office advocates planting seed potatoes 3-4 inches underground, and according to folklore, they should be planted on Good Friday in my area, Zone 5. I don’t know about you, but digging a 3-4″ ditch and covering the potatoes with so many inches of dirt sounds like a lot of work I’d rather not do. Use hardware fabric with 1/4-inch mesh and design a cylinder with a diameter of about 18 inches and a height of 24 inches. Place a few centimeters of soil on the bottom, then plant three or four seed potatoes and cover them with 3 centimeters of soil.
To plant seed potatoes in straw, prepare a garden bed in the ground or a raised bed for planting. Then nest each piece of seed potato in the ground for no more than an inch or so. Some gardeners who plant seed potatoes in straw do not even bury them at all; they just throw the pieces on the ground. Once the pieces of seed potatoes are placed, cover them with 5 or 6 centimeters of loose straw. As the plants grow, add more straw at the top and cover everything except the top leaves of the plant until the bed has 8 to 10 inches of straw. Although the straw layer serves as an excellent mulch, you should keep the bed well watered during the growing season.
Plant seed potatoes about 12 to 15 inches (30-40 cm) apart in rows, or slightly closer for other methods, with the shoots pointing upwards. Once your potato plants have grown about 6 centimeters, you need to “hill” them. This is done by adding a few inches of prepared soil around your potato plants and covering the growing stems at the bottom.
To harvest, turn the bag sideways and pour the contents. The taste of the potato is enhanced by depth and darkness. It’s vital not to expose potatoes to sunlight, as this also causes them to turn green and produce a chemical called solanine, which gives off a bitter taste and is toxic. Garden potatoes can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked.
Fill the container with about 4 to 6 inches of potting soil that has been mixed with compost and fertilizer. Place the prepared pieces of seed potatoes in the pot mixture with the eye buds facing upwards. The plants will grow quite large, so be sure to give them some breathing space. For example, a container that is about 20 centimeters wide can process about four small seed potatoes.
Do not let freshly dug potatoes stay in the sun for too long, no longer than an hour or two. A cloudy day after a period of little or no rain is ideal for the potato harvest. Sliced or bruised potatoes will not store well, so eat them first. The Grow Biointensive potato planting method involves planting the potato seed in centers 9 inches by 9 inches deep while digging and adjusting the garden bed. The rows are planted in an offset or hexagonal distance.
The lower buried stems will develop additional root structures as the choline gets higher. For this reason, mounding is essential to get the maximum harvest of any potato plant. Burying the stems also prevents the potatoes from being exposed to light, making them green. Choose a container of 2.5 to 3 gallons for each piece of sliced seed potatoes. Or plant several pieces of seed potato together in a large pot.
When plants are about 5 to 6 inches long, start by piling soil around the base of the stems or surround the plants with a thick layer of mulch. Growing potatoes on mulch does not require digging, and potatoes are much cleaner during harvest time. To plant, loosen a few inches of soil on the garden bed and work with a rake on some compost and fertilizer. Place your seed potatoes on the ground about 12 centimeters away. Cover seed potatoes with 12 inches of organic mulch, such as crushed leaves, pine needles, leaf fungus, sawdust, hay or straw. Add more mulch when the plants are about 6 inches long and keep filling up every 2 weeks until the plants bloom.