Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Time to Plant Potatoes and Onions

So here it is.  April 12, the month is almost half over and you were supposed to have planted Potatoes on St. Patricks Day - Traditionally. But St. Patrick was a magnaminous fellow and I'm sure he will let it slide if you couldn't plant Potatoes until now. Actually, according to plant nurseries near here, in Wichita, Kansas,  Up until Mid April in South Central Kansas is still a good planting time. And just in case you haven't thought about it, It's also a good time to plant Onions too! Both like the cooler weather of early spring.
To give you an idea of how many Seed Potatoes you might need, 1 Lb of Seed potatoes will produce aroung 8 to 10 lbs of Potatoes. I found out that the Yucon Gold Potato that I planted, can get up to 2 pounds each!. In a 4 X 8 plot, you could probably plant from 25 to 35 plants. 

Cut them in chunks with at least one "eye" in each chunk. You should be able to get 3 or 4 of the chunks with eyes in them from each Potato. The chunks are called "Chits". Put the chunks in subsued light (not direct sun) for 2 or 3 days. The sides that were cut on each Chit will skin over - which is what we want. [Notice the cut sides of the Chits pictured above] This prevents the Chit from rotting in the soil . The eyes in the Chits should at least have a small shoot coming out of each eye. One inch would be ideal but it is not that critical. A good sized bud will work.
Plant the Chit in rows about 1 foot apart or more and in a row that is about 3 " deep and 4" wide. The eye should point up to the sky. Put one Chit every 8 to 10 inches. Cover over with about an inch of soil. As the plant grows, heap dirt around the stem - always keep the top half the stem exposed and the bottom half covered as it grows. For example: If the plant is 1 foot tall, heap 6 inches of soil around the plant and let it continue to grow. After a while you can reach down into the soil and feel the new potatos, pull a few out. (The little ones are delicious). Let the rest of the potatoes down there grow as the summer progresses. When the plant stops growing and starts to fall over, you can pull the whole plant up and admire your Potato crop.

Note: Some people heap straw around the plants as they grow. The main point is to be sure the new potatoes are always covered with soil, straw, mulch etc. Sun exposure turns them green - which is a kind of poison. Not Good. 

And when your finished, checkout my new YahooGroup for more Gardening and Backyard Farming news! Especially if you live in South-Central Kansas-or anywhere in Kansas for that matter. 
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