Tips for the Perfect Potato
Nothing beats the taste of a potato that has been grown in your backyard. Though potatoes aren’t that expensive, digging up the perfect potato straight from your garden to take inside to wash and throw in the pan is not only a great taste but a great memory and feeling of accomplishment.
So how do you get your potato to that point? With these few tips in just a couple of short months, you will not need to go to the grocery store to make your next batch of mashed potatoes. Also, while you are becoming a pro try growing some Adirondak Blue Potatoes and make your family blue mashed potatoes, I promise it will be a hit!
Preparing for the Crop
With any crop, preparation is crucial, and potatoes are no different. Irish Potatoes are in the nightshade family along with tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. Having a good crop rotation is vital, and you need to remember not to plant your potatoes where these were before. Being cautious of this will make sure your soil stays nutrient-rich for many years to come.
Another way to help your crop rotation is to plant cover crops in your offseason. Mustards are a great cover crop to prepare your soil for potatoes. About three or four weeks before you are ready to plant your potatoes, you are going to want to go into that mustard plant and cut it down and till it in the soil, so it has time to decompose before you plant your potatoes.
To know when you want to plant your potatoes you are going to have to check your local weather station and see when they predict the last frost to be, once you get that date go back and plan to plant two to three weeks before that. For us in South Georgia, that usually means late February will be ideal planting time for our Irish Potatoes, but it can vary every year.
Growing the Perfect Potato
There are many different varieties of Irish Potatoes you can plant for beginner gardeners trying to figure out which plant works best for you, and your soil is a challenging task. Try planting three or four different varieties in one row each right by each other and compare which ones do best in your soil. Remember, you want to plant potatoes in the highest and driest part of your plot to avoid rot.
When you have your variety, and it is about four days out before you want to start planting, get your potatoes and an excellent sharp-bladed knife ready. You are going to want to cut three to four eyes per piece, this does not have to be perfect, but we find having around three or four eyes do the trick. As you are cutting and determining how many pieces to cut, think that about every 40 foot you will need around ten pounds of potato pieces.
As you finish cutting your pieces, you are going to want them to sit out for about three to four days. As they sit out the flesh will seal over and prevent moisture from going in or out, doing this again will help you from getting rot in your potatoes. After those few days pass, you are all ready to plant your pieces in the ground!
Irish Potato Varieties
- Yukon Gold Potato
- German Butterball Potato
- All Blue Potato
- Adirondack Blue Potato
- Kennebec White Potato
- French Fingerling
- Austrian Crescent Potato
- Red Norland Potato
Check out the video below to answer some of your questions and to see this process in action!!