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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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