Growing potatoes couldn’t be easier!

If you are looking for some new easy-peasy gardening and growing skills, then read on, because learning how to grow potatoes is one of the easiest gardening skills yet. They make an awesome staple crop even if you don’t have much growing space and you virtually don’t have to look after them. They can even be grown in your veggie patch.

Potatoes make for great additions at meals and can be roasted, baked, braaiied, mashed and used in salads too. We know that potatoes have starch, but they have no fat, so it shouldn’t have the reputation it has as it is full of vitamins and minerals, and these far outweigh the downside. They’re high in vitamin C (27mg in a medium potato), potassium, and vitamin B6; they contain thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and a good deal of fibre.

Take a medium potato that has started to sprout. If you look in the vegetable rack you’ll probably see some of your potatoes starting to grow “eyes”. These are the guys you want to plant. Cut the potato into a few chunks, each having a few “eyes,” or sprouting points. Allow to dry out overnight. If you don’t have time, you can plant them right away, but they’re more susceptible to rotting. Dried chunks produce the best results.

Then take a large container or a bag and cut a few holes in the bottom. Take some stones and cover with potting soil, compost etc. Take your potato eyes and place them on top, cut side down. Cover the sprouts with soil. Water well and place in a sunny spot. In a few days to a week, your potatoes will start to push their way upward. As they get taller, add more soil around the stem.

Also remember to check with your nursery on what the best fertilizer to use when planting.

Potatoes are ready to harvest between 10 and 20 weeks after planting, depending on whether they are first early (10 weeks), second early (13 weeks) or main crop potatoes (20 weeks).

You will know they are ready when the flowers open or the buds drop. When you dig them out, be careful as you don’t want to spear your lovely crop. Maybe, to be safe, tip them over if they are in a container or bag. It’s also important not to put the dead plant into the compost bin as when planting again don’t use the recycled dirt.

So after all your hard work, the gift of your bounty is making your favourite potato recipe.

Baked, fried, or mashed, there’s no wrong way to cook potatoes. The epitome of comfort food, there’s nothing we love more than cosying up to potatoes in any (and every) form. Whether they’re the centre of your meal, bite-sized  (potato skin bites!), or an easy side to your main course, potatoes can truly do it all.

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