Potatoes are easy to grow and very nutritious but because they are a root veggie gardeners trying to find things to grow in a container on the porch of their Manchester apartment might have to pass these by. They are excellent sources of potassium and vitamin C. There is an amazing variety of colors and tastes within the potato family and many gardeners plant varieties they don’t normally find at their local supermarkets.
If you’re looking for some container garden veggies to grow check out our growing guides for peas and lettuce.
Sowing and Growing
Potatoes require a minimum of six full hours of direct sunlight a day. When it comes to this crop the more sun the better! Potatoes require acidic soil that is very light and loose. And don’t forget deep. Remember potatoes form underground and need room to do this.
Potatoes are grown from having their tubers divided and replanted or from the flesh of other potatoes. To create potato plants take a mature potato that is larger then a chicken egg and cut into chunks that are an inch across or larger. Each piece should have an eye, ideally each piece will have two eyes although that is not always possible. In the right conditions each eye will act as a bud that stems grow out of.
- Potatoes need high humidity (usually not a problem during Manchester’s summers) and good air circulation to sprout quickly.
- Once eyes have sprouted, and temperatures are at least 40 degrees plant potatoes in trenches four inches deep and eight inches apart.
- Potatoes should be planted with their ‘eyes’ up
- When plants are 6 to eight inches tall ‘hill’ dirt up round the plant to one inch below its first leaves.
Potatoes are ready to be harvested when their stems have died. Because the potatoes form four to six inches below ground you will want to use a shovel to dig them up. They can be kept all winter long, for both cooking and replanting, if they are kept in a dark place with good ventilation that has temperatures around 40 degrees. At 38 degrees or lower the potatoes will freeze and will no longer be good for cooking or planting.
In the Kitchen
What family meal would be complete without mashed potatoes and gravy? Or baked potatoes and sour cream? French fries anyone? You can even make your own potato chips from your garden! Potatoes are a staple crop everywhere around the world and they can be masked, boiled broiled, cooked, steamed, or fried into numerous recipes.