This pandemic has certainly highlighted the need for supportive, self-sufficient communities around the world. When we rely on items to be shipped across the world, we become vulnerable to breakdowns in the chain. One of the ways in which neighborhoods can become more resilient is by growing their own food.
Food is a valuable commodity. It is a basic human need and a matter of life and death (if you really think about it). Communities that grow their own food have more control over the cost of said food and how to distribute it fairly among residents.
Depending on where you live, growing conditions might not be great for fresh tomatoes and beautiful, ripe apples. Potatoes though? These suckers can grow just about anywhere!
Grow as many potatoes as you can eat!
Potatoes are an extremely hardy crop. They also require very minimal care and don't need a huge space to grow out wide.
The amazing thing about potatoes is that one plant can keep growing, and growing, and growing, and growing, till you have such about as many potatoes as you could dream of! That's because, if you continue burying the plant as it grows, it encourages the spuds to develop. You'll often see potatoes grown on mounds for this reason!
You won't find potato seeds at the store. Most likely they'll actually be hidden in your fridge or sitting on your counter! Potatoes that have started to sprout and have "spuds" are going to act as your seeds. One potato will grow into a plant with many more potatoes, so you don't need to plant dozens to get dozens!
Cut up your potato into chunks with at least one spud on each chunk. I have cut them into small pieces and also left the potato quartered. You can also cook most of the potato and just cut off the chunk with the spud to plant!
Start by placing your potatoes at least six inches down in the soil. If you are using a container on your porch, make sure it still has some dirt below that as well to grow down into. You'll want to get as big of a pot as you can get your hands on!
Once the potato leaf has grown about 6-8 inches up out of the ground, bury the leaf in dirt again. You can leave just the tallest leaves peaking out.
Continue this pattern until you have no more space in your pot! If you really want to harvest a bunch of potatoes this fall, start by filling an old tire with potatoes. Once they grow up tall, add another tire on top and bury the plant. Continue adding tires on top of the potatoes and burying them as they grown until you can no longer reach the top!
Harvesting potatoes is easy (and fun!).
Potatoes should be harvested a few weeks after the leaves turn brown and start dying in the fall. You don't want to let them sit in the dirt too long as they will begin to rot. Simply start digging around in your mound/pot/tires and pull out the potatoes! Make sure to sift through the dirt carefully as baby potatoes can easily be missed.
Have you grown potatoes at home? I have two large 5 gallon buckets growing on my porch right now!