Planting And Growing Your Survival Potatoes!
Potatoes are without a doubt one of the most awesome survival garden plants you can grow. Potatoes fed and feed whole nations. The Irish Potatoe Famine shows how important a food crop they can be.
Potatoes are a great survival garden crop because they are easy to grow can easily be stored so you don't have to eat it as you grow it like other crops that quickly go bad after picking or in this case digging.
But growing potates is a little bit different than other crops and having a little knowledge about their idiosyncrasies is key to raising them successfully. Not hard if you know how. You will be growing potatoes from other potatoes. These are called seed potatoes.
Seed potatoes are planted and they put up a plant from the eyes on the potatoe. As the plant grows it will grow more potatoes. These new potatoes will be above the original seed potatoe. So you will need to periodically mound more dirt on top of the plants to give these new potatoes room to grow. You do not want the sun to shine on these new potatoes it will make them green and poisonous. Mulch can also be used to keep the sun off of the newest potatoes in the crop. Be careful not to cover over all or even most of the growing green parts of the plant. Pototoes need sunlight just like any other plant. Cover with dirt, called hilling, so that you bury a couple of joints of the pototoe plant. This will promote the plant to make more potatoes. It is an essential step.
Most people start their potatoes in a row that has had a trench cut into it. This provides and easier way to cover the potatoes without making the row quite as high as if you had started the potatoes at the peak of a normal sized row.
Plant your potatoes about 1 foot apart. Put the sprouting eyes pointing up and any cut portions down. Potatoes will have many eyes and each is a potential new green branch. Often you can take one potatoe and cut it into multiple pieces so that each piece has two or more eyes. Let the cut seed potatoe scab over for a couple of days and then plant.
Potatoes will reach maturity in 3 to 4 months in general. But their are numerous varieties and that affects the time as well as you local growing conditions.
Potatoes raised from Tubars (seed potatoes) are clones and genetically are identical to original potatoes that produced them. Potatoes grown from seed will often be different. This is why very few people grow potatoes direclty from seed. It really just depends on the kind of potatoes you have.
But for you growing potatoes from seed or at least saving seed for future use is really going to be a neccessity. You will not be able to successfully perpetuate potatoes indefinetely just because of chance. Surely one year you will suffer a fire, disease outbreak, theft, unusual weather etc that will wipe out all of your potatoes. And then what are you going to do? You don't have to live without them forever if you have seed saved.
If a potatoe plant is doing really well it can produce a seed pod which looks like an unripe cherry tomatoe. The seed is removed from the pods. The seed does not float so you can help seperate the seed from the rest of the cutup pod by seperating with water.
Potatoe seed needs to go through a couple of weeks of freezing to ensure that the proper dormancy period has elapsed.
Despite having to hill you potatoes you must start them not so deep that they sit in water or below the water line for very long when it rains. This will cause them to rot.
Keep potatoes in a cool, dry dark place over the winter to serve as next yearss seed potatoes.
Do not grow tomatoes near potatoes the blight that attacks tomatoes will attack your potatoes too.
Many people prefer to grow tomatoes in small barrels. Makes it easier to control hilling, harvest and water amounts/control.
Potatoes store better if you don't wash them.
Stored potatoes should be dry and free of debris.
High humidity will decrease shrinkage and keep the potatoes nice and firm.
You must allow some air circulation.
No light on your stored potatoes.
For best storage potatoes should not be harvested until two weeks after the vines are dead.
Do not let you stored seed potatoes freeze!
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