Growing potatoes is always a worthwhile endeavour””I mean, French fries are already the most amazing food known to man, but when they’re garden grown, it’s a whole other level of awesome. Overall, they’re pretty easy to care for, but it definitely helps to know the ideal conditions to grow them in, so you end up with the tastiest harvest possible. Here are some valuable tips for growing potatoes here in Edmonton!
Buy Seed Potatoes, Not The Ones From The Supermarket. These little guys are meant for sprouting and planting, whereas the ones at the store have been treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting. You can pick some up here at Salisbury Greenhouse!
Sprout Them On The Windowsill. A couple of weeks before you plan on planting them, pop them in a sunny spot by the window so they can start sprouting. Make sure it doesn’t get too hot””they don’t do well in the heat, and ideally you want to keep the temperature around 18″“21 °C.
Cut Up Your Seed Potatoes With A Clean Knife. Once they’re all covered up in sprouts, you can split them up to grow separate plants. Each piece should have two sprouts, or “eyes,” and should be planted with the cut side facing downward.
Plant Them In Full Sun. The more sunshine, the better! Make sure your garden bed or containers aren’t shaded by trees overhead, fences or walls.
Keep The Soil Loose. Dig down to at least 18 inches below the soil surface, and mix it up well, making sure it isn’t compacted or full of rocks. If you’re having trouble digging that deeply, you can also plant them on mounds or a raised bed.
Make Sure The Soil Is Fertile And Acidic. While you’re loosening up the soil, you may as well mix in a generous amount of compost and organic material to make sure it’s packed with nutrients to feed your plants. If the soil isn’t in great shape, you can always pour in some compost tea to help the cause. Acidic soil with a pH between 5.0″“5.5 will give you the best results, so run a soil test first to see if it needs any amendments.
Plant No Later Than Mid-July. Our growing season isn’t quite as long as it is for our southerly neighbours, but thankfully our summer and fall temperatures are mild, which bodes well for these tuberous vegetables. The general rule of thumb is to plant potatoes at least 12 weeks before the final frost date, which usually falls around the end of September here in Edmonton. Mid-July planting should be just enough time for a quick-developing variety to mature.
Use 5″“10″“10 Granular Fertilizer With Calcium And Magnesium. Pro tip: sprinkle it across the garden surface before planting, then apply it one more time in the middle of the growing season for an extra boost.
Plant 4 Inches Down, Spaced 18 Inches Apart. Dig 4-inch trenches with 2″“3 feet between them, place the sprouted seeders in the trench, but only cover them with 2 inches of soil. Once the seedlings emerge from the soil, you can cover with the remaining 2 inches of soil.
Know The Difference Between Early, Mid, and Late Season Varieties. Early season varieties need 75″“90 days to mature, midseasons need 90″“135 days, and late-season taters need a whopping 135″“160 days. Choose your variety accordingly, based on how much time you’ve got until the frost hits.
Add Mulch For Protection. Since potatoes don’t like hot weather, you’ll want to shield them from the sun’s heat by layering on some mulch, like shredded bark or straw. This also helps to retain moisture and prevent it from evaporating from the heat.
Water Regularly, But Don’t Overdo It. Soggy soil is a big no-no, but dry soil is also something you want to avoid. Try to keep your watering schedule consistent, and don’t allow the soil to dry out completely, or else your potatoes might crack. Having loose soil encourages the water to drain through without collecting at your plant roots and sitting stagnant.
Have you checked out the latest 2020 annuals, herbs and garden veggies now available on our online GrowStore? We’ve got curbside pickup and delivery options available if you don’t feel like coming inside to browse. If you need any more tips on vegetable gardening or want to know what you can still successfully plant in midsummer, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our experts! We’re happy to help.