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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 January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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