Planting Potatoes

A weedy bed

A weedy bed

When weeds grow this well, even in winter, then you know the soil is rich. The bed had to be cleaned off. Thus began my potato planting day.

Peat Moss, Compost, Cow Manure

Peat Moss, Compost, Cow Manure

I gathered the components that I wanted to add to the soil to produce great potatoes. Potatoes like an acid soil. If the soil is not acid enough the potatoes will be disfigured by scab. Peat moss is a good way to make the soil more acidic.

Planting tools

Planting tools

It is important to gather everything you need to work with first. When I went to get the wheelbarrow the tire was flat. I just love the person who invented fix-a-flat. I have used it many times to pump up flat tires on garden equipment.

cleaning off the bed

cleaning off the bed

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I used a shovel to get the weeds and their roots.

Adding peat moss, compost, manure

Adding peat moss, compost, manure

I added the peat moss, compost, and manure, then mixed it into the soil with the girl-sized mattock you can see behind the bed.

Jerry Baker's way to do a soil ph test.

Jerry Baker’s way to do a soil ph test.

I netflixed a Jerry Baker garden DVD, which told how to do a home test to check the ph of your soil. You mix equal parts of soil and vinegar. I used a 1/4 cup measure for both. You shake them up together in a jar. When you remove the lid if  you hear a sizzling sound, the soil is acidic. If you don’t hear any sound, the soil is alkaline. My soil sizzled loudly. I was so excited. I felt the soil was acidic enough to avoid the potato scab.

The tool my dad made for me to use for planting.

The tool my dad made for me to use for planting.

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I consider my dad to be a master gardner. He is always coming up with interesting ways to do things easier. This is a tool he made from a gum tree branch. It is great for punching holes in the soil to put in potatoes, seedlings, or seeds… and it was free! Score!

Kennebec seed potatoes, for white potatoes.

Kennebec seed potatoes, for white potatoes.

Red Pontiac seed potatoes for red-skinned potatoes

Red Pontiac seed potatoes for red-skinned potatoes

I bought 2 pounds each of white and red seed potatoes at the local hardware store for a grand total of $2.52. I cut them in pieces, making sure there was at least one “eye” on each piece. I left the pieces in big chunks to give the tiny plants something to live off of until their roots form. I ended up getting about 80 pieces from 4 pounds of potatoes.

Potatoes at home in their holes.

Potatoes at home in their holes.

Potatoes covered with straw.

Potatoes covered with straw.

I covered the potatoes with a light layer of soil, then added straw. As the plants grow I will add more straw to prevent green spots on the potatoes that occur when the sunlight hits them. I also covered the bed with chicken wire for now, to prevent animals from digging in the bed.

The potatoes are planted. I love to eat new potatoes either boiled with salt and butter, or baked rosemary potatoes, with olive oil, salt, and fresh rosemary. It makes me hungry just thinking about warmer days and my potato crop.

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