Growing Spuds ...Easy and Rewarding for the home gardener

New seasons certified and disease free seed potatoes are now in store.   Home grown potatoes, like many crops grown by home owners and gardeners, are sweet and crisp, and well, taste amazing.  

Potatoes are grown easily in the ground, or for small gardens or balcony gardens, they can be grown in a container.  

Traditionally, potatoes were used to 'break up' the soil in new gardens, allowing good root penetration and soil aeration for the crops that followed, with many gardeners, particularly those with heavily compacted soils, still practicing this method.    

If you are growing potatoes in the ground dig a trench about 10cm deep, heaping the soil to one side of the trench.  Cut your sprouted potatoes into 'chits' making sure each chit has an 'eye' (or a sprout).   Gently place the chits into your trench about 15-20cm apart, and fertilise with a fertiliser high in potassium (keeping away from high nitrogen fertilisers is important for potatoe crops as it's the tubers you want, not large leafy green foliage).    Backfill your soil, mulch well and if it's not raining, water in your potatoes well.   As your potatoes develop leaves, continue mounding the soil over the leaves, being sure to leave about 20cm of leaf growth above the soil.  

For the small garden, try growing potatoes in tubs, tyre stacks or in wire cages.    Layer the base of your container with good quality potting mix and straw, and plant some 'chits' into the soil medium. As the potatoe grows leaves, continue layering the potting mix and straw being sure to leave about 20cm of leaves free of potting mix.  Regularly feed your potted potatoes with a high potassium based fertiliser, and be sure to water regularly.  

Your potatoes should be ready to harvest about 3 months after planting.  

In frost prone areas hold off planting until all frosts have passed as potatoes, like their friends the tomato, are particularly susceptible to frost.    

A few of our favourite varieties are:
Dutch Cream - a versatile potatoe used for mashing, baking and roasting
Desiree - boiling, salads, masing, baking and roasting
Kennebec - boiling, mashing, roasting and chips
Kipfler - boiling, salads, mashing, roasting and baking
Pontiac -  boiling, salads and mashing
Royal Blue - boiling, mashing, baking, roasting and chips

If you love the experience of growing your own potatoes, make sure that next season you plant your chits in a different location in your garden .... a four year rotation seems to work well in most gardens.  Planting on a rotation basis will help to reduce pest and disease problems in potatoes.  If you need assistance choosing a potatoe to suit your needs be sure to speak with our qualified garden staff.