Today we planted our 8 seed potatoes. They’re Coliban and we bought them at Aldi for $6.99. Frank wasn’t convinced that we should plant potatoes at all and, if we did, that we should buy seed potatoes, but I wanted to give it a go. After all, there’s nothing we eat more of than potatoes. I think I might try planting a potato we bought for normal eating as well, just as a test. If it grows the same as the seed potatoes, next year I’ll save myself a few bucks. If I were serious about testing the success of the 2 types of potatoes I would have planted the store-potatoes today since it’s the last day of the full moon which is when, according to the lunar calendar, I should plant potatoes, but by the time I’d decided to try my cheap crop, I was out of my gardening clothes and into loafing.
I waited to plant the potatoes for when I could get Frank’s help. His parents have planted tons of these over the years and I thought his experience would prove valuable. Of course he basically planted them just like the package suggested (10 cm deep, 30 cm apart).
The bad news is Frank doesn’t think I should grow beans behind the potatoes (they’re space hogs). Of course I’ll plant my one grocery-potato right in front of my row of beans (to be planted in a couple of weeks when it’s a bit warmer) so I’ll have the last laugh.
The potatoes went into the “sunflower bed” next to the horseradish. There’s at least one ginger in there as well and it/they will have to compete to survive – it’s a jungle out there.
Update 22/8: This morning I planted a potato I pulled from the bag in my kitchen. It’s a generic potato (the bag label states “brushed potatoes” and declares it Australian grown). It had a sprout and so it’s in with a chance. The race is on to see how it does compared to the seed potatoes (too bad it was planted 1 hour after the moon went into its last quarter phase – but if growing was easy, every potato would be doing it :-).
Update 5 Sept: Leaves are showing for 3 of the seed potato plants. They’re on their way.
Update 27 Feb 2012: I finished harvesting the potatoes today and documented my lessons learned there. Basically, the seed potatoes were harvested between mid December to mid Feb which is pretty good. 4 months to first harvest (though they could have been ready earlier since I wasn’t around to check on them) and still harvestable 7 months after planting. The big lesson was the seed potatoes didn’t produce nearly as well as the normal eating potatoes. Next year I won’t be buying seed potatoes.