This blog relates to growing potatoes in the Brisbane Qld region.
The Sandgate Community Garden is in the middle of a trotting track at Deagon Qld and is used by refugees and school children. It also produces enough crop to sell on a fortnightly stall to raise funds.
Big thank you to Lyle (Betts) from the SCG for providing a potato growing workshop for our members (Brisbane Local Food), though we did have a couple of ring in’s from BOGI (Brisbane Organic Growers Inc) in the form of Ed and Louise. Always good when other groups can join us.
What an excellent, no nonsense approach Lyle has to growing spuds.
- Plant from April-onwards for three months.
- April plantings will be ready for cropping after 60 to 90 days, or around July.
- Potato plants DO NOT LIKE/NEED TOO MUCH WATER. Water fortnightly if it doesn’t rain.
- Certified seed potato is best because it is disease resistant. But! any regular spud can be used – avoid those that are damaged/cut or show any sign of disease.
- Buy planting spuds with soil on them – NOT washed.
- Larger spuds can be cut into pieces with at least one eye per piece.
- Pieces can be planted immediately after cutting but DO NOT water these at planting time. Alternatively pieces can be left to scab up (dry) naturally or be dusted with sulfur. Leave about three days.
- Do not cut seed potato. They should be planted as is.
- Soil should be slightly acidic, friable and contain lots of compost. Clay or limey soil is not suitable.
- Plant in full sun.
- Plant your pieces between 10cm and 20cm deep – 15cm is good. About 20cm apart.
- As the plants grow mound soil, compost or straw leaving about 10cm of plant exposed. This is to stop the sun getting at the potato crop and turning them green (toxic).
- When the plant reaches about 20cm tall they will flower. This indicates that the plant is now producing tubers. This is the point at which the plant needs water.
- Spuds can be bandicooted once the plants start producing.
- Leave the crop in the soil for storage for as long as possible rather than picking and putting in a cupboard.
- Expect about 8 potatoes per piece/seed potato planted.
POINTS OF INTEREST:
- Basil makes a good companion plant for spuds.
- Lyle often replants in the same spot in his home garden, something we are told repeatedly not to do. He makes sure he uses healthy spuds for growing and adds lots of compost to replenish the bed.
- Wanting a good crop during the growing period, Lyle also grows spuds in buckets hanging off his fence. He puts some holes in the bottom and mounds them as well as he can inside the bucket.
- Lyle grows all sorts of potatoes at the SCG including Dutch Cream, Sebago, Pontiac and is about to try Kiphler. He feels we should be trying to grow as many varieties as possible.
Thank you to everyone who turned up, including Mark and Katrina who came quite some distance from the south side. Good turn out for a very useable workshop. I hope you all came away with some useable hints and we now all have tremendous success growing spuds. I know now I was watering mine too often for starters!