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Planting Potatoes

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  1. #1
    Dust Maker Geoff Dean's Avatar
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    Default Planting Potatoes

    Hi all, some advice on planting potatoes please.

    I have heard and read that you should use "seed potatoes" but when I asked at the nursery/plant farm for these, they were $12 kilo.

    Is there anything wrong with just getting some from supermarket, placing them in the dark and waiting for them to shoot and planting these?

    Had heard something about disease doing it thisway, but can't remember what it was or where I heard/read about it.

    Thanks
    Geoff

  2. #2
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    I grew my potatoes that way.

    The technique I used was to very carefully toss the taters on the ground, then heap my lawnmowings over them.
    I was so proud of my huge potato bushes, until it was pointed out that the idea is to minimise the green stuff above ground, so the plant puts its efforts into the potatoes underground.
    After that I kept the plants nipped back, and actually got some crops.

    An alternative uses car tyres:
    put the spuds on the ground, and put an old car tyre around them
    fill the tyre with mulch, soil, vege scraps, lawn cuttings etc.
    when the tyre is full to the brim, you should have some potato plants a few inches above the surface
    stack another tyre on top, and continue the process
    when the stack is 4-5 tyres high, take the top tyre off, harvest the potatoes, and use the tyre to start the next stack.
    take down the original stack - the spuds should be bigger as you get further down.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  3. #3
    Dust Maker Geoff Dean's Avatar
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    thanks Andrew, like the idea about stacking tyres, might give that a go.

  4. #4
    hardly human Clinton1's Avatar
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    Seed potatoes are disease free, which is why they are more expensive.
    Disease is not a real drama if you are not in a potato farming area, however the diseases can stay in the soil for years, so that will be a problem if you want repeat crops and introduce the diseases to your yard.

    Take a look at www.diggers.com.au for different varieties, I bought mine there so I had different varieties.

    As there are no potato diseases in my soil, I just keep planting some of the previous years crop as my 'seed potatoes'.

    The tyre idea is a great one, makes for an easy system.
    I have seen a bloke that cut a 1/4 section out of the tyres, and just stacked his tyres with a star picket holding the 1/4's in place.
    Remove the 1/4 section down the bottom and pull out the potatos, and slowly work your way up as you need new 'taters. Thought that was a cool way of doing it, saves getting 20 kilos of 'taters all at once.
    Cheers,
    Clinton

    "Use your third eye" - Watson

  5. #5
    A Member of the Holy Trinity echnidna's Avatar
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    You can plant potato peelings as long as you don't cut the eyes in two.
    They grow as well as a normal spud does.
    Regards
    Bob Thomas

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  6. #6
    Often confused!
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    I know a lot of people who grow spuds, but no one has ever used seed potatoes. I simply go to the shop get a nice looking spud of whatever variety, bring in home and bung in the ground. If I plan well enough I will dig a hole about 300mm deep, put in spud and build up soil as it grows. Often I plant spuds that have started to shoot and we can't eat them and I plant them anywhere and basically ignore them. So I find spuds when I am digging up the ground for other plants, I really should organise it a bit better, bit it's great to get a few spuds and have them fresh that night, mmmmmm.
    Cheers
    McBlurter

  7. #7
    Senior Member jackiew's Avatar
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    I usually use seed potatoes, and rotate which vegie bed I plant them in. 4 bed rotation is kind of traditional.

    Dig a trench. Line with old newspapers cover newspapers with contents of your compost bin - water the lot well - drop your potatoes ( or half potatoes if you're cutting them into bits each with an eye ) around 12 inches apart - 2 ft between trenches. cover potatoes with soil that you dug out. As the plants come up you mound more of the soil against them.

    I have also successfully grown potatoes in buckets 75c or something from bunnings. drill drainage holes in the bottom - you can also fill with small stones to improve drainage a bit. fill with compost a few inches. drop a potato in the middle and cover it over. fill to about 3/4 height so that you can add more soil later if potatoes come up to surface. cover with layer of straw or other mulch. Keep watered. Harvest potatoes by turning bucket upside down - no digging required.

    By the way does anyone else here have a problem with possums eating the new potato leaves as they come through the ground. It definately isn't slugs and snails. We find covering them with chicken wire cages until the leaves aren't young and fresh seems to work. possums must have cast iron digestive systems cos they also eat new rhubarb leaves which I always understood were poisonous.
    no-one said on their death bed I wish I spent more time in the office!

  8. #8
    Dust Maker Geoff Dean's Avatar
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    Thanks all who answered.

    I'm liking the idea of the buckets, solves a couple of problems for me, and seems nice and simple. I think I will give this idea a trial.

    Regards
    Geoff

  9. #9
    Member Buzza's Avatar
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    I paid over $7.00AUD for my seed potatoes here in South Australia. This is the safest way to grow them. I have had failures previously from using eyes from kitchen spuds. I use compost bins for containers, (Black plastic and steel 44 gallon drums) filling them halfway with compost and a good mixture of manures, I then planted the spuds. Then, covering the spuds with more of this mixture, I have observed their rapid growth. As the tops have grown, I continue covering them with pea-straw each time they reached fifteen centimetres.

    They are growing well and are now showing signs of beginning to yellow, although no flowers have yet appeared. I think my crop will be ready for mid December.
    Buzza.

    "All those who believe in psycho kinesis . . . raise my hand".

  10. #10
    Senior Member jackiew's Avatar
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    Geoff - just remember not to let the buckets dry out so much that you end up with a big gap between the contents and the bucket wall - if that happens when you try to water the water will just pour out without soaking the earth.

    Also you need to make sure that you use good compost because this is all the potato will have to feed on unless you use a fertiliser part of the way through the growing season.
    no-one said on their death bed I wish I spent more time in the office!

  11. #11
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    I have been covering up the green shoots of my potatoes...but this ninny does not know how long she should be doing that for...(

  12. #12
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    Just read an article recently about using car tyres as a bed and they reckon that the tyres leach chemicals into the earth ! May have to research some more !

  13. #13
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    And I have found that the bigger beds give much bigger yields, also I have found that deep digging and soft loose soil with LOTS of rotted manure give better results than mixed refuse compost. Peter Cundle on Gardening Australia recommends sheep manure as a top dressing but this year around Geelong I just cannot find any.
    My beds this year are ~ 3M * 1.2M and probably not big enough.
    I do not have a problem paying for good quality seed potatoes, if you get a decent yield then each kilo of spuds is a return of over 700%; try doing that on the stock market.
    I also plant the ones that turn green but those are the ones that go into tubs and the yield is much less tubs tend to dry out too quickly and stress the plants

  14. #14
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    So do you need to build up the soil to help the spud bush to grow straight up (as all of mine are leaning over) or is it just to cover the spuds as they supposedly appear above ground?

    Thanks
    Rod

  15. #15
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    Bit of both really. Definitely necessary for the covering of tubers as they grow, but it does help to support the stem. Though if they are tall weedy stems, you are probably providing a bit too much nitrogen to the plants ...

  16. #16
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    Leggy?/ Feed them with seaweed emulsion after a good bit of blood and bone and perhaps 10% superphosphate added then water in well and use a low nitrogen mulch like bagasse not pea staw

  17. #17
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    Well i wasn't organised enough and one of my potato beds is a sort of experiment. I got the raised bed built too late and the seed spuds already had leaves; I filled the bed with dry but unrotted mulch. Mulch is a mix of pine, ironbark ( our tree ) and cypress about 2 months old.
    I put in a layer 200 deep put in the spuds; put another 200mm on top and finished with pea straw and bagasse then top dressed with triple the normal amount of blood&bone and Dynamic-Llifter to make up the shortfall in nutrients.
    I wonder how they'll go??
    We got 20mm of rain last nite so a good soaking for the whole garden.
    This bed had 3 runs, Red Norland; Dutch Cream and some Safeway rejects.
    Kipflers are up as are the Kennebecs so hopefully we have enough potatoes to eat for a year

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