Potato Planting Day

March 18, 2011 | 11:03 am

My girls love French fries and ketchup! They would vote me mom of the year, if I let them eat French fries and ketchup every night for supper. The combination of the French fry and ketchup has to be one of the greatest tastes in America, although maybe not the healthiest. One purpose behind my gardening is to teach our daughters where their food comes from! Therefore, potatoes are a staple in our garden.

Today was potato planting day for us here in Zone 6; a perfect day for the family to be outside soaking up sunshine and fresh air. Although we still experience cool temperatures; potatoes, onions, cabbage and broccoli are crops that can handle it. Most garden vegetables should not be planted until after your frost free date (your last spring frost).

We purchased our seed potatoes a couple of weeks ago from one of our favorite family owned garden centers. If you haven’t planted potatoes before you should know that whole potatoes are not planted rather, seed pieces. A week before planting we cut the potatoes in half or into fourths depending upon how many eyes (buds) were on each seed potato. There should be one good eye on each seed piece. Cutting them a week before planting, gives the potato time to heal from the cuts. If they don’t heal there is a chance they will rot in the soil.

Plant each seed pieces about 10 inches apart in a furrow about two inches deep. Potatoes rows should be 24 to 36 inches apart. I plant my potatoes between two bands of fertilizer, a technique I learned while a student at Texas A&M University. To create the bands of fertilizer, I use the handle of my garden hoe to create a four inch deep trench. In the trench I add a 10-10-10 granular fertilizer and cover the fertilizer with soil.

It was a great day in the garden! I’m guessing I will be a bit sore in the morning. No pain, no gain…right!?!