Should you grow your own potatoes rather than buy them at the store? You can save money by doing so of course, but there’s more to it. I wouldn’t have believed it unless I tried it myself, but you cannot beat homegrown potatoes for taste, flavor and freshness. Even the act of brushing off the soil and washing them on my own seems a lot more enjoyable when I know I have grown the potatoes myself instead of buying them from the supermarket.
If you are thinking about growing your own vegetables this year, then some of my tips may help. Here are a few I’ve written about before:
As for potatoes, here are three tips to help you get a bumper crop of potatoes this year, so try them out for yourself.
1. Stagger your planting. I did this last year on the advice of someone in the family. I’ve got three potato planting bags and I was going to plant them all out at the same time. But it was definitely a better idea to plant them one at a time with two or three weeks in between each bag.
It meant that we could use and enjoy the potatoes in the first bag while the other two bags were still growing and coming to fruition. And just as we finished the first bag, the second one was about ready to be used. Try it yourself as it means that you get fresher potatoes and they have a chance to develop more and yield more results for you for a longer period.
2. Make sure you fertilize the soil you are using. If you use normal soil, you can still grow potatoes, but last year, I unfortunately made the mistake of not fertilizing it enough. A good fertilizer will enable the potatoes to grow better and you will get a healthier yield from your crop overall. So it is definitely worth doing –- and yes, I have done it this year so hopefully I will get more potatoes as a result.
3. Water them really well every couple of days. Now I must admit I had problems with this last year, but I didn’t realize what the problem was at the time. We had plenty of potatoes but they probably didn’t grow as well as they could have done. I have seen instances where potato growing bags were literally bulging with potatoes, and although I got a lot of traction from ours, there was still room for more.
So I have now started watering my plants every couple of days until the water actually runs out of the bottom of the bag. It feels like I am drowning them but all the good gardeners say this is what you should do. I expect that when the bags are nearly full, the potatoes can take a lot of water as it will drain through. Realize that you will lose a certain amount of the water anyway.
This is only my second year of growing my own potatoes but after last year’s reasonable degree of success, I am looking forward to better things ahead for this year. I am also looking forward to the various dishes I can cook using these potatoes!
I think there is always a learning curve to be negotiated and this was definitely the case last year. During the first year, you learn and are rewarded a little for your initial efforts. The second year is when you gain experience, as you put your knowledge into action and get a bumper crop as a result.
Needless to say, I can’t wait for those first few new potatoes when they are finally ready to taste. Let me know how your crop works out!