Growing potatoes has been going on for generations. Granted they are not expensive to buy in the store, but I decided to give it a first time try.
Breaking new ground with an old growing technique.
We have a small and limited garden space here at Pacific Nurseries. The soil in our plot is shallow due to a hardpan clay layer about 6 inches down. John Herbert, from Gentle Giant’s Gardening and the leader of the community garden at Brook’s Park Community Garden, gave me some advice: he said, go up!
So I am, slowly. My ‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes sprouted this Fall. And as they started to grow up, I layered mulch (Walt Whitman compost) around the stems, leaving the top set of leaves exposed. When the mulch mound was about 1 foot tall, I started layering straw over top of the mound, tucking them just under the top set of potato plant leaves. Now, the mound is a little over 2 feet tall and with each spurt of stem growth, it’s getting larger.
In theory, the potato plants will send out roots and eventually potatoes all over the mound. John tells me this is how the Irish sometimes grow potatoes.
One of many ways to grow the spuds your looking for.
If you look on the internet, there are all sorts of potato growing schemes. There are buckets and bins and all sorts of potato growing container-like devices. Just growing in a large nursery pot seems to be just as easy.
If you or your customers are adventuresome, give it a try. You just need some seed potatoes or some organically grown potatoes, some mulch and a large container in the sun.
If you try your luck at potato farming, send me an email or post a comment below and let me know how it works out.
Share your potato farming success.
And please, stop by and look over our potato mound over the next couple months to see how we’re doing. If we’re successful, and you’re lucky, I just might share in the ‘Yukon Gold’.
As President of Pacific Nurseries, Don Baldocchi gets satisfaction knowing the Bay Area is greener and more beautiful by helping landscape professionals succeed. Email Don or give him a call at 650.755.2330.