How to grow our own potatoes, getting a quality product in a small space
Not all we have a real garden, but often we would like to eat healthy fruits of the land, without any kind of treatment.
A proven and effective method for growing potatoes without owning a vegetable garden is to use a vase, a jute bag or bin, but also in a bag that is durable, waterproof and reusable. This way you will have available the excellent potatoes grown without pesticides. You will be paying attention to caterpillars and beetles, who are not afraid to venture into the home or greenhouse for eating your tasty potatoes.
It will therefore be important to check that the plants exhibit healthy leaves, and at the slightest sign of parasites (leaves eaten) look at them carefully in order to identify them and remove them (happened to me with the caterpillars during the first crop).
To start, we need first of sprouted potatoes. We can use them whole or break apart, depending on the number of buds present. Potatoes sprouted, born new plants and new tubers.
Below I will tell you the basic steps to follow to have a healthy and consistent harvest, they are the sum of the experiences made during the development of the crops, so if at some cultivation I did not put into practice what advice below, is because I still had not found out.
First you have to provide a container, as mentioned above may be a bin / bucket that goes from 25 to 200 liters.
Before choosing the most coarse, you decide where you want to grow them, whether at home or in the garden.
If winter approaches, at some point you'll have to take them at home due to low temperature. Therefore weigh up the space you have available.
It does not need a lot, but not everyone has that chance.
If you decide at home, you have to rotate to make sure that they receive more light from all sides, otherwise it will grow crooked.
If you decide to grow them outside, and it is not summer (the perfect climate for potatoes is dry and sunny for at least 3 months) you'll have to move them occasionally to prevent them get too much water or wind that bend or break. -To prevent this, I recommend using a stick to keep them standing as you do with tomatoes.-.
You have already realized that rotate or move a 200 liter bin is not easy.
My advice is - if you have no one to help - to use one or more buckets of 25 liters, but if occasionally you have a help, even used one or more cans of 50 liters.
If this is your first time and then you do not know well yet how much water need the potatoes, you run the risk that the harvest rot.
It is therefore advisable to make holes on the sides of the bucket / barrel to a cm from the bottom to drain excess water.
If like me you do not do them, because keeping them at home might mess around, without letting them know that the moisture of the earth will be constant throughout the bucket. This means that if the surface you will see dry land, it means that even under will be dry, and vice versa.
It 'important to have already sprouted potatoes. If they are not, I suggest you keep them in a place where they are illuminated but without receiving direct sunlight, resting on damp paper towels. To help them to sprout, rotate them each day so they take moisture from the absorbent paper on all sides.
Spend about 3 weeks / 1 month should have beautiful buds of about 1 cm. Now put on the bottom of the bin about 1/15 cm of soil, and plant it.
It 'important to sow potatoes of the same variety, otherwise it will have different growth rates and then you will have problems with ridging (mistake made in the 2nd crop)
One key thing that I neglected in The First Crop, is fertilizing.
To have a good crop, I suggest to fertilize the earth well, as only add compost as I did in the first cultivation is not enough although it helps.
In the section "Fertilizers" you will find the guidelines to do a good fertilizer rich, nutritious and balanced specifically for your potatoes.
My advice is to dilute a bit of fertilizer in the water, this since the plant is born until the last ridging (see Section I Fertilizers for more info).
In the second crop I'm Following this system to make sure to have an abundant and healthy crop managing watering and fertilizing. With a clever mix of the two (watering / fertilizer) will try to best to feed plants during their various stages of growth, here's how:
-From the time of planting until a week after the last tamping:
watering frequently (every 3/4/5 days, to evaluate based on moisture of the soil) and always with fertilizer diluted in water, at this stage the soil will always be well wet. Attention not too wet, otherwise the plants will rot quickly.
-After last tamping for 4 weeks, the terrain get soaked when the surface is dry / slightly damp, this is because the water consumption is reduced when the plant has reached the end of growth and also to avoid water stagnation and rot.
Watering every 5/7/10 days as needed and this time no urine but only with dilute acetate.
- Until flowering
Continue watering every 5/7/10 days alternating:
Only water, only acetate, complete
- After the inflorescence
As you will see the plants will grow very quickly, their speed is about 1.5 / 2 cm per day, and especially at this stage of growth is also good to remove the weeds that inevitably will grow together.
To maximize the harvest we use the tamping. This is to continue to add soil as the plants grow to the whole of the bin.
The soil must be added each time the seedling reaches 10 / maximum 15 cm. To find out if the height is ok to earthing up you do a C with thumb and middle finger, if the plants exceed that height tamped half of their height.
Ridging, forcing the plant to grow in height and throwing new roots that will give us other potatoes 🙂
If we wait too long and the plant will exceed 15 cm, do not throw new roots although tucked. (Mistake made in the second crop). Therefore we will only potatoes to the base of the plant, and not on the buried part of the stem.
When the plants will stand yellowing is good to stop to water or in any case reduce very much, because at this point the water requirement is very low.
When all the plants are dead it will finally be time to collect !! :D