How do I sow potatoes in the garden?
Potatoes can be grown in the garden, but even on the balcony or terrace in the city.
In both cases, you need to make sure that the soil in which they are grown is fluffy and soft so that the potatoes can grow in it and become large.
Remember that potato tubers grow in the soil.
If the soil is hard, the potato tubers will find it difficult to grow as they will encounter resistance from the hard soil. So at harvest time (about 3 months later), we will get chips and not potatoes.
Potato seeds (tubers)
To plant potatoes we do not use seeds, but tubers (the potatoes themselves) that have developed bulbs.
Potatoes suitable for sowing can be found at your local hardware store, or from local growers.
Tubers intended for sowing are usually the size of an egg (especially those from Holland) and have already developed eyes.
Tubers for sowing from the Netherlands. Note the developed bulbs
Tubers with bulbs for sowing potatoes. Greek variety.
If the tubers are relatively large and have bulbs on both sides, you can cut them in half. This will produce two “potato seeds” that you can plant separately.
Potato tubers cut in half. 3 days after cutting.
If you cut the tuber in half you should pay attention to the following:
- Do not sow the cut tubers immediately. Leave the pieces in a shady place for 1 to 3 days to allow the cut to harden.
- There should be bulbs on both parts.
- Cut only the large tubers. There is no point in cutting a small tuber in half.
When do we sow potatoes?
Potatoes can be sown in two periods.
In early spring (March – April), so that we have the so-called summer potatoes (because we harvest them in summer).
In late summer, early autumn (August – September), so that we have the so-called winter or Christmas potatoes (because they are harvested in December and coincide with Christmas).
Roasted meat with dream potatoes from the garden, in the oven for the Christmas table. Yummy, yummy!
For exactly when you can sow potatoes in your area, you can consult your local agronomist or other growers in your area.
As with any seed, the microclimate of your area can affect the dates. As a grower friend told me, “I sow potatoes today and 20 kilometers down the road, they sow after a month to get a good yield.”
How do we sow potatoes?
We have already mentioned tuber preparation so we won’t repeat it.
The soil should be fluffy and soft.
I sow potatoes on a balcony or terrace
On the balcony or terrace, things are simple. For each potato, you should have a relatively large pot. For soil you can use a composted organic plant-based product, such as ILI from Bioterr (last time I bought it for 4 Euros for 70 litres). Don’t use plain topsoil, it won’t do.
Composted organic product of plant origin. ILI from Bioterr.
I sow potatoes in the garden
In the garden, you should have dug the soil well and enriched it with compost (see below). You can do the digging with a hoe, or use a digger (tiller).
Remove as many stones as you can.
Enriching the entire area of the garden that will be used for growing would be ideal. It will cost a small fortune though (compost and organic fertilizers cost a small fortune). Alternatively, you can just enrich the area around each plant. This is much more economical and hopefully just as effective.
The distances between the plants, should be 50 to 60 cm.
Next I will show you the potato sowing process, step by step.
Step 1. Make a hole in the soil about 15 cm deep. At the same time, dig the soil around the hole area so that it is as soft as possible.
Make a hole 15 cm deep.
Step 2. Insert the potato tuber into the hole.
Place the potato tuber in the hole you drilled.
Step 3. Cover the hole and the potato tuber with compost. Do not fill the hole up to the top with compost. Leave room to add some soil later. The compost will help the potato to grow in the first critical stages.
Add compost to the hole until the tuber is covered by 3 to 5 cm.
Cover the potato tuber with compost.
Step 4. Add soil to the hole to cover it.
Cover the compost with soil.
Step 5. Lightly tamp the soil so that it sits and compacts. Do not put your full weight on it. Just press it down lightly.
Lightly press down on the soil so it settles.
Step 6. Add a layer of compost. This layer of compost serves two purposes. With watering, its nutrients will reach the growing plant. The second purpose is purely practical. As the compost is black in colour, we mark the spots where we have planted our potatoes in the garden. This saves us the expense of buying, and the trouble of putting up buoys.
We add compost to the surface and tread lightly.
Step 7 (optional). I add the automatic watering system and place a drain on or near where I planted the potato tuber. If you can water the potatoes daily, there is no need to install an automatic watering system.
Optionally, I install the hose of the automatic watering system.
14 days after sowing potatoes
14 days later, the results of sowing potatoes are now visible. The seedlings have started to appear. Be prepared that they will not all appear at once, nor will they all grow at the same rate.
14 days later. This potato plant has grown quite a bit.
14 days later. This potato plant is just starting to discover the world.
17 days after sowing the potato
17 days after sowing the potato, the plants continue to grow and develop normally.
17 days after. The potato plants are healthy and have started to grow rapidly.
If you attempt to sow your own potatoes in the garden or balcony in the city, I wish you good luck!
Potatoes are ready for harvest
A few months later, the potatoes in your garden are ready for harvest! Check the “The winter potatoes are ready for harvest!” article, to see the results. Big, healthy, delicious potatoes from your garden!