Thursday, 19 May 2011
Potatoes in the Bag
Weeks ago I placed the potato tubers in a warm and bright place to sprout. This is termed chitting potatoes. This way the tubers produce sprouts early before planting. This method is very good for early varieties which need 12 to 20 weeks to reach the size to harvest.
When the sprouts are 2 - 3 cm long, they are ready for planting. I left only a few sprouts on each potatoes. Big tubers can be cut into smaller pieces having two to three sprouts each. If you cut the tubers, let them dry for a few days before planting to seal the wounds. Be careful when handling the tubers because the sprouts are brittle and easy to fall off.
Then I filled the bags to 1/3rd with compost and placed two to three tubers in each. I covered the tubers with some more compost. Using a pitch fork I poked a few holes on the bottom of the bags for drainage.
I watered the potatoes well. I planted my potatoes exactly on April 29th. Now they have about 10 cm long stems. I think they would have been larger if the weather was not so cold lately.
When the leaves and stems reach the length of 20 cm, I will cover them up with compost to 2/3 of their length. And, so it is going on until the bag is full.
Now, a little bit of botany. It is clear that the potato tubers originate from a stem and serve as underground storage organs. It is the same case with Dahlia, for example. So, when we cover the stems with soil, they start to produce the tubers. Isn't it wonderful?