The month of August is potato planting month here in the Western Cape.

I buy my potato seeds from Living Seeds (www.livingseeds.co.za) and they offer effortless planting instructions – there are two options:

  1. The Direct Method: Simply take your planting potato seeds and plant them directly into your prepared beds. The sprouting will be uneven so you will have plants maturing at different times.
  2. The Chitting Process: Lay your potatoes in egg cartons in bright light (NOT direct sunlight). You can cover them with hessian, to kep them moist. Sprinkle with water once a day. The idea is to get the potato to “chit” or turn green. The sproated chits will grow more evenly and you can enjoy large harvests.

Plant the potato seed between 50 and 100mm deep in soil – not directly on fresh manure. However, soil enriched with manure is ideal. It will take 2-3 weeks for growth to start. Once the stem starts to emerge, slowly build up the soil around the stem to encourage the development of new tubers. This “hilling” will greatly increase your harvest!

Watering: Water direct onto the soil – keep water off the leaves to avoid fungal diseases. Frequent watering is essential. When the flowers start to show this is when the tubers are growing – so water well in the mornings.

Harvesting: Once the leaves turn yellow, cut back on the watering to help the tubers to mature. Now is the time you can dig up some baby potatoes. Once the plant has died off completely, you can harvest your potatoes. You can keep them in the soil and take as you need or harvest all of them and store in a cool, dark place. Do not use old potato bags to avoid disease residue.

Companion Planting:

DON’T plant together with tomatoes. Potatoes don’t like sunflowers, pumpkin, and raspberries.

Companions are beans, green peppers, marigolds, corn, mustard, peas & strawberries.

Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C, B3, Folic Acid, and potasssium. It is an energy booster and muscle toner.

The potatoes I will be planting this season (from Living Seeds):

1) Valor. An outstanding disease resistant cultivar that impresses me every year. Yeilds well and is an outstanding all purpose potato.

2) BP1. If you know anything about the older varieties, BP1′s are always mentioned as a good cooking and baking potato.

3) Up-to-Date. Our most requested variety. This is probably one of the tastiest potatoes that you can get. Not the best yeilding potato, but the quality is unmatched.

 

If you have a tip to share – let me know! Maybe yours will be selected and I will do a “One Minute Tip” on it!

Happy Gardening xxxx