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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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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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