Last weekend I purchased and planted two bags of seed potatoes, some King Edwoods that are apparently a good all rounder, I say apparently as I have never knowingly eaten or cooked them, and some Dutch Cream that make a nice creamy mash. But when it comes to planting potatoes this was my first time with both varieties, in fact all varieties.
Some small piece of knowledge at the back of my mind told me that I had to source seed potatoes and that they are somehow different to the potatoes growing horns in the pantry. Considering these bags of seed potatoes were $8 each I would love to know if that piece of knowledge is correct and why? I also assume they will develop some sort of fruit or seed head so why not grow from seed?
Then when planting with no idea what I was doing I just dug a little hole and plopped them in. The following week I read a post at one of the blogs I follow that mentioned to plant potatoes nice and deep. This rang with what I read a few weeks prior at serendipity2000's blog about building up layers of soil over them when growing in pots to maximise output. And of course it is also important that the potatoes remain completely covered by soil otherwise they will start to photosynthesise (turn green).
So on Sunday I dug up the potatoes I could find and reburied them at a greater depth. Not knowing exactly how deep I should go I dug until the digging with my (I mean Melanie's) little spade got too hard. As you can see I planted them at a depth of one Mr Jelly. For those of you unfamiliar with the Mr men measurement system that is about 13 cm. So what is the recommend depth?
When digging them up I found it very interesting to see unlike in the pantry they send out lots of fine root to start with.
This little potato has really taken off considering it was only planted 7 days ago.
While on the topic of spuds… A long time ago when I was naive and questioned what my mum told me, I questioned her advice to not eat green potatoes thinking it was only an old wives tale. Luckily before cooking and eating them I did some research at the CSIRO site to discover she was right.
It turns out that when a potato is feeling vulnerable like when it is exposed from the soil it produces a poison to discourage would be potato eaters. I also learnt that the same applies if the potato is wounded or sprouting thus you shouldn’t eat these either. Be aware in this case the potato will not necessarily be green as the green colouring has nothing to do with the poison rather is the result of the desire to photosynthesis. The two just often coincide.
I now listen to my mum and trust wives tales. But I guess it is healthy to question.
Anyone know the answers to my questions or got some good potato growing advice?