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How to Grow Potatoes in Your Garden

How to Grow Potatoes in Your Garden

Contrary to popular belief, learning how to grow potatoes isn’t difficult. In fact, potatoes are one of the easiest and most convenient vegetables to grow. You don’t need to be an experienced gardener to do so, nor do you need oodles of space.

If you haven’t had much luck with gardening in the past, or don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to the process, learning how to grow potatoes is the perfect way to start your new hobby.

Here’s how to grow potatoes in your garden, no matter its size or location:

Step 1: Purchase Seed Potatoes

Buy seed potatoes from your local garden center. These are potatoes that have already started to sprout. (The sprouts are called eyes. You’ll notice these on potatoes you’ve stored in your kitchen for long periods of time.)

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Don’t plant store-bought potatoes. You won’t know what chemicals have been sprayed on them, which can put your entire crop at risk for disease.

Step 2: Prepare Your Seed Potatoes

Next, you have to chit your seeds: this means storing them in a cool, dry, and light location for two weeks before planting them. This allows your seed potatoes to start sprouting early, which will help you produce the best crop possible.

How to Chit:

  1. Find the side of the potato that has the most eyes. Place them side by side on trays with the eyes facing upward.
  2. Store them. Each eye will produce a shoot.
  3. Check on the shoots, making sure to take away any that look unhealthy.
  4. Plant the shoots once they’ve reached 1.5 – 2.5cm in length.

Step 3: Prepare Your Soil

Choose a sunny spot where the soil is loose and well-drained so the roots can fully develop. If the soil is dry, water it a few days before you plant your potato seeds—you want the soil to be moist, but not soaking wet.

Wait until the soil is warm before planting. If you plant your seed potatoes in damp ground and they remain damp for too long, they could rot before they have a chance to grow.

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Step 4: Plant Your Seed Potatoes

There are three common ways to grow your own potatoes:

1. Trenching

Dig a trench about 4 inches deep, placing your potato seeds 18 inches apart. Mound soil around the shoots.

2. Mulching

Prepare the soil as you would using the trenching method, only instead of mounding the soil, place the potato seeds on the surface and lightly cover them with mulch.

This method isn’t recommended if you have problems with squirrels and/or raccoons.

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3. Container

Perfect for the city dweller wanting to garden, place 6 inches of soil at the bottom of a container. Drop your potato seeds in, and cover them with three inches of soil. Keep adding soil as the shoots grow, and your container will eventually fill with potatoes.

Recommended containers include barrels, cloth grocery bags, and burlap bags.

Step 5: Watch Your Potatoes Grow

The best part about learning how to grow potatoes is how little care they require. You only have to water them once a week—less if it rains! As your potatoes grow, make sure to mound soil around the plant stems.

Check for new potatoes after 50–60 days. Only harvest enough potatoes for 2–3 days at a time and keep them refrigerated.

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Growing season lasts for 90–120 days. If you wait until two weeks after the vines die, this will allow the potato skins to harden and they’ll last longer in storage.

While you’re waiting, learn some killer potato recipes for when your first crop is ready!

Step 6: Store Your Potatoes

Store your crop in a cool, dry place with the temperature above freezing. Give your potatoes an even longer shelf life by leaving the dirt on them until you’re ready to cook them.

Now that you know how to grow potatoes, it’s time to enjoy the process of growing your first crop! Don’t forget to let us know how it goes in the comments.

 

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Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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