For beginner and seasoned gardeners alike, learning how to grow potatoes can translate to an endless supply of vegetables to last throughout the seasons.
Many of us love cooking up a storm in winter, such as soups, roasts and all of the creature comforts that we generally don’t associate with summer. Thankfully, a lot of these can actually be grown in your own backyard.
While there are many vegetables that are renowned for loving the winter months, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, others are slightly more temperamental depending on where you live. However, some mouths are known to be fussier than others, and it’s hard to find a vegetable that is almost universally loved as much as the humble potato.
Learning How To Grow Potatoes At Home
As many gardening enthusiasts already know, potatoes are cheap, easy to grow and packed with a variety of nutrients. Along with being an incredibly versatile root vegetable and a dinner time staple in many households, potatoes are underground tubers that can grow almost anywhere so long as there isn’t any exposure to frost.
If you’re exploring how to grow potatoes at home, be sure to check that the conditions are right before you start planting. Spuds need around sixty to ninety consecutive frost free days to yield a successful harvest, so be sure to factor in winter related events before you purchase any seeds.
In Northern New South Wales and Queensland, one of the best planting times is between March and April, as the soil is warm, growth is rapid and there are generally less pests. For frosty areas, potatoes can be planted in early spring, shortly before the last expected frost. Although planting can continue into summer, the risk of pest and disease damage increases as the weather becomes hotter, particularly in humid areas.
In addition, potatoes are particularly fond of fertile, deeply dug, moist, acidic soil with a pH of less than six. They’re not big fans of heavy clay or a limed soil, and these soil types tend to promote diseases like potato scab. To avoid this, always rotate your potato patch each year, and make sure you do your homework on the two different types of potatoes –
Determinate Varieties – These types of potatoes produce tubers in one layer just below the soil surface at around ten centimetres and therefore don’t require mounding of the soil around them. They are usually less productive than indeterminate types but do produce spuds earlier, anywhere between seventy and ninety days. Determinate potato varieties include Kennebec, Kipfler, Purple Congo and Pink Eye.
Indeterminate Varieties – On contrast, these potato varieties produce tubers in multiple layers, so it’s important to keep mounding soil around the plants. Indeterminate potatoes can take longer to produce a crop, and are ready for harvest between eighty and one hundred and twenty days. Options include Desiree, Dutch Cream, King Edward, Nicola, Sebago and Pontiac.
Once you’re familiar with the basics of how to grow potatoes and you’ve selected a spot in your veggie patch, it’s time to get familiar with planting techniques. For determinate varieties, dig over the soil, add compost and plant the tubers around 10cm deep at 35-40cm apart. For no dig options, simply place the seeded potatoes on the surface of the soil, and ensure a heavy layer of mulch remains present at all times.
In contrast, indeterminate potato options involved digging a shallow trench, with measurements being around 20cm wide and 20cm deep. Place compost in the bottom of the trench, cover with a thin layer of soil and plant the seed potatoes 35-40 cm apart, and cover with 10cm of soil. As the potato plants grow, continue filling in the trench until the seed potatoes are buried to a maximum depth of 30cm before mulching well.
When learning how to grow potatoes – or any vegetable for that matter – it’s crucial to protect them against any unwanted invaders if you want a decent harvest. Although healthy soil is one of the most effective ways to proactively fend off pests and diseases, tackling weeds is a whole other story. Using chemicals on fruit is a big no-no, especially if you plan on consuming your harvest – so what’s the alternative?
Introducing A Safer Way To Spray
Bioweed is an organic, non selective weed killer that works fast on contact with the weed, in order to rapidly desiccate and burn even the most stubborn of plants. It can be used anywhere around the house including garden beds, veggie patches, paths and driveways, and is safe to use around children, animals and even native wildlife.
The best part? Bioweed is the brainchild of well established agricultural leaders Greenpro, and is backed by over twenty years of research and development. Owned and manufactured in Australia, the primary ingredient of Bioweed is actually sustainably sourced pine oil, and is even approved by NASAA, ACO and APVMA for use around organic farms and food production.
If you’re on the hunt for a weed killer that’s safe to use around pets or kids, or simply want to know more about eliminating weeds safely – check out other tips and tricks in our online advice forum, or contact us for any further queries.