How to Plant Potatoes
Potato is a very nutrient vegetable, it can be added to soup, salad, it can be served as a main dish. There is nothing better than potatoes you plant yourself - not only are they tasty, they are great for your body, too: you know that you don't use pesticides and food that you grow is healthy. Potatoes can be collected and kept for several month so if you have homegrown potatoes, you know that you have supply of great quality food for the whole year round.
The first thing you need to do is get quality seeds. Choose the best potatoes you gathered last fall. You can use potatoes that are only 2 inches big, but if you want to get more potatoes and you want them to be of a great quality, you better leave the best and largest spuds for planting. You can use half potatoes or eyehole sprouts, but only if the climate you live in is very warm and humid.
- If you plant spuds cut in half, you have to dry the raw sides a little and apply ash to them. If the weather is chilly and rainy, cuts can start rotting. Besides, there is a chance they won't sprout at all.
- If you are using eyeholes, plant them indoors, and once sprouts get strong enough, plant them outside.
- The best choice is using whole spuds. In the middle of March you need to get the spuds out of your cellar, rinse them in a potassium permanganate (the solution should be just a little bit pink, it shouldn't be too concentrated - you need to combine it with a lot of water). Place spuds someplace warm - 72 - 77 degrees F, but make sure they don't get direct sunlight. In 2 - 3 weeks you can put spuds someplace a little cooler. You need to sprinkle them with water every once in a while, otherwise they won't sprout. Sprinkle them with water, fertilizers and ash.
You can plant them outdoors in April. But since we don't know what climate you live in, we recommend planting spuds outside once birch tree gets leaves, or when bird cherry is in bloom. It means ground is warm enough for sprouts to survive (ground should be at least 50 degrees F. Plant potatoes at least 12 inches away from each other, 4 inches deep; at 24 - 36 inches between the rows. Make sure the soil under the spuds is friable. If you have enough time, dig a separate hole for every spud, put some cinder, humus and fertilizer in it, and place a spud in there.
When sprinkling potatoes with water, fertilizers and ash to get sprouts, don't combine this substances, but alternate them. Don't prepare these solutions in advance - they are not for storing.
Don't panic if your spuds are ready for planting, but it is still chilly outside. Plant them anyway, place a little wood chips on top, and then cover them with a thick layer of ground (about 4 inches). Cover the ground with plastic. Make sure it sits tight. Leave some space under it for the sprouts to rise. If it is too cold, you may want to dig a hole someplace warm - you can replant sprouts later.
When you plant potatoes (or anything else) you have to pay a lot of attention to sprouts, room temperature and fertilizing - remember that plants are living things and you mustn't forget to see how they are doing every day.Once you plant potatoes, you should take care of the plants as well to get great results when it is time to collect your potatoes.
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