By MEREDITH KIRTON
Potatoes revolutionised the world, and made it possible for small land owners and tenants to grow enough carbohydrate to sustain their family in a yard, as opposed to wheat, which needed a large field to have a similar outcome. The journey they made from the Americas to Europe, and the resulting liberty they created, changed the world forever. So, rather than “mash” them, treat them with the reverence they deserve!
To grow your own, you’ll need to buy some certified “seed” potatoes. These are disease free (you don’t want the potato famine at your place) and, if bought mail order seed from Rouse Brothers (Warrigul, Vic 3820, ph 03 5626 1265) or The Digger’s Club (Heronswood, Dromana, Vic 3936, ph: 03 5987 1877) you’ll end up with a great selection of different types.
Dugald from Heide Garden says “Potatoes are easily the simplest vegie to grow easily. They are generally well behaved and stay where they are put.” In fact, some ‘Kipfler’ potatoes had to be lifted after recent flooding, but had still survived! The trick is to chit your potatoes. This just means waiting about 4 weeks till your potatoes “eyes” are sprouting before cutting the into pieces and planting them into enriched soil. This gives them a head start and stops them from becoming overcrowded. As they grow, continue to mound soil up against their stems. This causes more and more tubers (potatoes) to form. Once they are flowering away, you can stop the “earthing up” process and when the leaves start to yellow you’re ready to harvest. This is normally anything from 3 months (chats) to 5 months away from planting. Potatoes need lots of regular water and fertiliser, as well as free draining soil and a sunny position. If you’re really keen, check out the annual Potato Festival in Guyra, New England, NSW
Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS