Preparing Potatoes for Planting
On this week’s episode, Travis is planting potatoes in the garden area. This year, when planting potatoes he has a few different varieties from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds to try out. The varieties we are going to try out in the garden are Jelly, Blue Belle, and Russian Banana. In order to plant potatoes, Travis recommends cutting the potatoes up to only one or two eyes on each piece to get more yield. Once you cut the potatoes up the skin needs time to heal before planting in the vegetable garden. This ensures that the potato pieces do not become susceptible to soil fungus and rot in the garden. The process that the potato goes through when healing is known as suberization. Travis typically lets the potato pieces sit and heal for around three days to a week before they are completely healed over. To help with the suberization process it is recommended to use Fir Bark which is a fine dust that helps speed up the healing of the potato pieces. Travis prefers to scatter the Fir Bark dust on the potatoes kind like battering something up to fry and then shake them around in the bucket.
Planting Potatoes in the Garden
To prepare the vegetable garden, Travis used his Double Wheel Hoe with the cultivator teeth attachment to break up the garden soil. Then, with the wheel hoe and the plow set attachment, we can make a furrow to plant potatoes in. When the potatoes are placed along the garden row, we can adjust the plow set to fit on the outside of the wheel hoe to cover up or hill the potatoes in the vegetable garden. Since Travis has three different varieties to plant, he is planting one in each row. He is placing the rows about two and half feet apart in the vegetable garden. In order to get straight rows in the garden, Travis prefers to use stakes and string for each row. Once each row has a furrow ready we should add some soil amendments before we plant potatoes. Travis has some worm castings from a local dairy that he is going to line at the bottom each furrow in the vegetable garden. When the worm castings are added then we can add the potatoes on top and hill it over with the Double Wheel Hoe. To plant the potatoes, Travis is planting them with the eye facing upwards and around 6 to 8 inches apart down the row in the garden. The reason we place the eye upward ensures that the potato plant can sprout and form leaves once it grows out of the soil. Travis mentions that we should not have to add water until they sprout from the ground. Once they begin to sprout, that’s when he recommends laying the drip tape irrigation in the garden. After, laying the drip tape Travis will hill the potatoes again because they prefer a lot of soil on top of them.
There are a few different potato varieties that we have available at Hoss. The first variety is known as Adirondack Blue which contains a purple flesh potato that is rich in antioxidants. Usually taking around 85 days to mature this unique potato variety offers exceptional yields and excellent flavor. Another popular potato variety that provides the best flavor is the German Butterball. This variety is a late-season plant meaning it takes between 110 to 135 days to mature in the vegetable garden. The Red Norland is a newer variety that has disease resistant to scab, late blight, and potato virus. This is another variety that has great yield, storage, and flavor profile. The Yukon Gold is another popular variety that has been a favorite for gardeners for many years. All of these varieties work great for roasting, frying, baking, mashing, and so much more.