Home grown potatoes are one of the easier crops to grow, and kids love discovering the gems hidden in the soil. Rotate your potato crop in your vegie garden each year to help prevent soil diseases.
Potatoes can be grown in your vegie patch, raised garden bed, large grow bags or in a potato tower made of chicken wire and straw.
If in your garden or raised bed, mix in Baileys Soil Improver Plus or manure at least 3 weeks before planting to build up the organics. Potatoes love organic dense soil.
You can plant store bought potatoes, by allowing the eyes or bud to sprout by leaving in a bright area for a few days. However, we recommend purchasing seed potatoes from your local nursery. They tend to be smaller and are specifically selected to be healthy disease-free stock.
Once the plants are around 15cm tall, mound some soil around the stem of the plant and cover with straw. Do not fully bury as this may inhibit growth. As leaves emerge from the mound of straw keep piling it up. After every third straw layer spread a few handfuls of compost. The larger the mound of dirt, the more potatoes you will get. After several months they should be 30cm high.
Keep plants moist while growing but avoid over watering.
After roughly 20 weeks they will be ready for harvest.
Not all plants flower so dig up a couple of tubers to check size and see if they are ready. If you want a higher yield wait until the plant dies to the ground, then use a garden fork insert it into the mound and lift it upwards bringing the potatoes to the surface, along with the plant.
Always make sure your potatoes are fully covered by soil, as sunlight can turn them green and green is toxic!
Hint: Potatoes keep better if you don't wash the dirt off straight away, and store them in a cool, dark place.