The big day has come! Its a bit soggy out there but I think we'll be fine. Maybe. We'll see.. It is just exciting to finally get to plant something in the garden!
Every year we plant potatoes on (or near) St. Patricks day - and sometimes onion sets too.. and peas! (though it is too early for little onion plants - i learned this the hard way last year - but you can plant 'sets', the little bulbs, now)
This year, our primary potato bed will be a variation of a Ruth Stout style bed. The Ruth Stout method of gardening involves very little digging and no tilling! For potatoes, we made a bed of deep (8-10") hay and bedding from our goat houses in the Fall. THAT IS IT! - (Here is a good overview, with videos and a book list to learn about Ruth Stout gardening)
To plant out seed potatoes, we will rake back the hay, and place the potatoes on the ground and cover them back up! Ruth Stout = THAT EASY!
In the past, we've used other methods of planting potatoes.
Potatoes can be planted in a variety of containers, from buckets, to rubbermaid bins - hampers, to raised garden beds. They can also be planted in a 4" deep trench. We've had a lot of luck with the trench, but it can be a lot of work to dig in our rocky soil. Many people suggest that you should mound soil or hay around your potato plants, forcing them to grow taller and make more potatoes. I've not had great results with this method in the past. I like to plant my potatoes close enough together that they shade out the weeds between them, and then just let them do their thing!
However you plant them. You know its time to dig up your potatoes when the plants die off. This usually happens in July. Just make sure you don't miss any, or you'll have potatoes next year too! We've been dealing with volunteer potatoes in our garden since we moved to our farm. Someone planted them years ago, and even though we try to dig them all up, they still come up every year. (not a horrible problem to have, but they come up in the aisles and other inconvenient places)
You can also get started with sweet potatoes this time of year. They are grown differently than regular potatoes and are more sensitive to cold. Find an (organic) sweet potato at the store (or in your pantry), if you wait long enough they'll sprout (as seen below) to speed up the process, place the sweet potato half way in a cup of water in a sunny window. Once you have spouts, you can break them off and root them in water. Once they are rooted you can plant them directly into their final location, or keep them in a small container for a while before transplanting. Sweet potatoes have attractive vines and can be grown in flower pots or as part of your landscape. One sweet potato can grow many slips! Just break them off and put it back in the water and often more will come.
Check out our instagram stories, if you miss it - I will put potato planting pictures in the Garden 2020 story highlights!