It’s November, the month to remind us to be thankful for all that we have. So, I would like to start this blog by saying I’m thankful for all the different ways I can eat potatoes and nothing can replace the taste of home-grown fresh potatoes.
Growing fresh potatoes in your home garden is easy and rewarding. We started our potatoes from seed potatoes which we bought at our local gardening store. January is the ideal month to plant seed potatoes in Southern California and the reason is the plants will emerge in 6-8 weeks when the spring weather sets in which is conducive for forming potatoes. We used the trench method to plant our potatoes where we dug a large hole to a depth of half the size of the container. We planted five seed potatoes in the whiskey barrel container, pictured here.
We used a combination of peat moss, vermiculite and compost potting mix. We added some organic fertilizer to replenish any lost nutrients as we reused this potting mix. Ensure that you replenish the soil every time you start a new crop so it breaks down in time and nourishes the soil during production time.
Potatoes love warm weather but cannot withstand extremely hot summer temperatures, spring through summer is an ideal time to grow potatoes. I recommend planting in January and harvesting potatoes in summer time for the growers in Zone 7.
49 days since planting, the plants have emerged and look quite healthy.
75 days since planting they have grown bigger/stronger leaves and have used up all the nutrients in the soil. This is the time when they need liquid fertilizer every 10 days, so you can use compost tea, worm tea or a salt based liquid fertilizer.
93 days since planting the plants have grown larger leaves. At 165 days since planting around June we are ready to harvest our potatoes. We planted two sets of crops. The first container contains a mix of Yukon gold potatoes and red potatoes. Yukon gold potatoes are particularly susceptible to blight which is a disease that affects potato plants. If you notice blight on your crops remove all the affected leaves and stem and toss them away. Here’s our harvest from the first container, not a big harvest but these are home grown, fresh, organic, and delicious potatoes free from any growth inhibitors or pesticides.
We then harvested potatoes from our second container which had a mix of purple and red potatoes. Make sure you dig up the entire container and you will be pleasantly surprised at potatoes you may find deep down. This is the advantage of using the trench method to grow potatoes, they not only produce potatoes at the bottom but also on the sides as the plant grows.
Here’s a link to the video guide on how to grow potatoes in containers in your home garden.