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    Posted on October 12th, 2010 Pam No comments

    Everyone in Idaho loves potatoes, right?  Most people in the United States know Idaho is famous for it’s potatoes.

    So I thought I might give out some little known facts about potatoes.

    Potatoes grow under the ground, from ‘seed’ potatoes.  Take a large certified ‘seed’ potato (purchase certified seed at a greenhouse), then cut it into 1 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch piece.  Try to have several eyes (3 or more), on each piece.  Then dig a hole for the ‘seed potato’ and put it in the bottom.  I just push the shovel in as far as I can, pull it forward and drop the potato in.  Then carefully lift the shovel out by pulling it a little more forward. 

    Potatoes grow best in ‘hills’.  When the row of potatoes are about four inches tall, put more dirt on the topdf the plant.  Covering the small potato plants will not hurt them.  Continue through the year to hill the potatoes if desired.  When weeding you can take the hoe and pull the dirt up around the plant, this is a technique my Father taught me.  It does two things at once, it hoes out the weeds and hills the potatoes at the same time.

    You can begin to dig potatoes around the time they are in blossom, the potatoes will be small, but yummy just the same.  I usually begin to dig them when they are about the size of a tennis ball.  Continue to dig them all Fall.  Two weeks after the vines have died, the potatoes have matured enough to dig.  This maturity helps the potato skins toughen up so they don’t get scratched when digging them.

    Now to talk about the peelings and the small potatoes.  NEVER put potato peelings back into the compost bin or on the garden.  NEVER put small potatoes back into the garden.  NEVER put potato vines back into the garden.   Technically this will be the same as putting non-certified seed into your garden.  Also, doing this will promote disease in your garden. 

    So when digging potatoes take all the small potatoes out of the garden as well as the vines, and never compost the peelings.

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