It is really difficult to gain your children's interest when planting a winter garden. The winter garden is full of greens, mustards, kale and collards- which most children turn up their noses at. Trying to get them to down one fork full of collards, is usually followed by tears and more drama than what's in my Momma's soap opera. There is one winter crop, however, that is sure to bring a smile on your child's face- french fries.
When your kids find out that they can grow french fries, they may grab a hoe and come out and help. Of course you may have to teach them that french fries come from potatoes and there's no better classroom than the outdoors. Fortunately, potatoes are very easy to grow, and easy for children to plant.
February is the month to get your potatoes into the ground. Come on down to Sal’s and ask us for some seed potatoes. The seed potatoes look exactly like the potatoes that you purchase in the grocery store. The BIG difference is that the potatoes in the grocery store are sprayed down with growth inhibitors, so that they will last longer in the store. If you plant these potatoes, you will have no french fries.
There are several varieties of potatoes. Red Pontiac and White Kennebac grow real well in our southern soil and weather. I have found that the red potato is more prolific, but white do well too.
After you purchase your seed potatoes, take them home and spread them out on a table. Be sure to put newspaper underneath. The eyes will soon begin to grow. Wait one to two weeks for the eyes to get about ¾ of an inch long. Now they are ready to plant.
You can quarter the potato, or just plant the whole thing. To plant right into the ground, dig a trench 4 to 8inches deep in loosened soil. Lay your potatoes in the bottom, about twelve inches apart. Fill your trench, but do not pack down the soil. Loose soil makes great potatoes. If you are in clay, you may have to bring in some loose topsoil. Potatoes also do great in a trashcan. Be sure to sign up for our FREE CLASS coming up on Saturday February 17th , on Planting Potatoes in a Barrel.
Potatoes are ready for harvest when the tops start to die, which is usually around 100 days. Your kids should find digging up their potatoes a fun activity. Eating them should be even more fun! French Fries are only one fun dish for this versatile vegetable. I like making potato skins with cheese, chives, and ranch dressing. Yum! Yum!
Want to learn more about when and what to plant? Then our SC Local, Non GMO Garden Box is for you. Click here for more info.