Monday, 15 October 2012

Growing them spuds!

Potatoes with the dirt covering the shoots
Potatoes - one of those 'really cool' vegetables that I've always wanted to serve up to visitors & gloat that I grew them! 

I bought the seed packet in one of those spur of the moment "that would be cool!" shopping trips & didn't think to check what type it was or anything about them! I followed the directions on the back of the packet & then decided to research them a bit more to figure out what to do with them! Well.... oops.

So, my potatoes COULD be early, they COULD be main crop. They COULD be red. They COULD be normal. They COULD be a lot of different things & I guess it all adds to the wonderful surprise I'm going to get when I dig them up! I didn't let them sit for a week in the sun to let their 'eye' or 'sprout' grow. I just plonked them in! But they seem to be growing well.... in my opinion anyway!

Original size
So I read a bit about how to push the dirt up when they get to about 10-20cm high, then cover them in dirt till only 5cm of plant is showing. Let them grow again & repeat the process. Most of the sites generally say to do this until the pile is about 20-30cm high. 

I've done that once so far, before I ran out of dirt & compost to use, until I came back from holiday this weekend to find them over a foot high! So, because this is all experimental anyway - I covered them in as much dirt as I could find about the place. They are still sticking out of the ground about a foot, but the dirt pile is around 25cms now. I covered leaves & all! Whether that's right or wrong or in between - I guess I'll find out at the end.

Learning Point: I planted the seed potatoes at the level of my garden bed. With all the piling of dirt you need to do I'm now at the limit of my raised garden beds. Next time I plan to actually dig further down, so I can pile higher & not have the dirt overflow.

Look at them bloom!
Apparently they need oodles of fertilizer. Originally I gave them some blood & bone. I will have to add some more when I get some! They have also sprouted more than one leafy bush per potato! More potatoes for me? I have no idea! They also have that annoying white fly buzzing around. I'm going to have to confidor them or something too!

Odd things really. They apparently will flower & then die. You dig them up similar to onions after all the growth is dead.

Christmas potatoes? Possibly!? 

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