How to plant potatoes is only for those with a big garden; and frankly only for organic freaks like me. I'm afraid, if you're seriously overweight, you should absolutely avoid spuds because of their high GI.
Unless, and here you can take a gap, you can locate new potatoes because they have a third less starch. And, unless you're prepared to wait and allow them to cool overnight in the fridge; more about retrogradation later.
If you have the strength to dig the trenches then you can certainly enjoy them.
Here's my 2015 potato patch, or a corner of it, with beautiful arum lilies in the background.
It is always wise to make too much potato salad. Even if you are cooking for two, make enough for five. Potato salad improves with age — that is, if you are lucky enough to have any left over.
- Laurie Colwin, 1944 - 1992
Much loved Laurie Colwin died suddenly and unexpectedly at 48 of a heart attack. I've been unable to discover if she was a smoker, but a love affair with the black and white diet, meat and potatoes, is deadly. She was spot on about cooking extra and leaving it overnight; it enables 'retrogeneration' which inhibits rapid digestion in the small intestine causing a blood sugar surge.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 26th December, 2018.
They do keep quite well, so there's not much advantage unless you really want food that's been grown without inorganic fertilisers, poisonous anti fungal sprays and dessicants to kill the plant at a particular stage.
Why is that important? Well, as you no know only too well there's an epidemic of cancer and the so called autoimmune diseases; much is known about them, but there's mystery too. We suspect chemicals have a lot to do with it.
Mind you, new potatoes straight from the ground to the pot are without equal, as with all vegetables.
Plus it's just a fun thing to do to grow your own food. Quite hard work but very rewarding. And quite a good return financially; each seed potato will produce about ten to fifteen spuds if you're lucky and have a good season; how to plant potatoes is for everyone with a large garden.
There's quite a lot of controversy about potatoes these days; they have a high glycemic index. We'll get into that lower down.
How to plant potatoes requires some planning; in particular, think back exercises. It's hard work digging these trenches and, since this is also a chiropractic site, we have to study prevention of lower back and leg pain.
No point if you have to add ten consultations with your chiropractor before you ever start thinking about when to harvest potatoes.
I had myself a serious slipped disc last year so, before picking up the spade, I first spend two or three minutes doing our lower back exercises. That's over and above the set I did before I arose; I do them every morning and you should too if you've had LBP episodes.
Just how deep should you dig those trenches? There's a toss up. If you make them deeper, then the growing plants get lots of support and don't fall over; but then they are a lot more difficult to lift. A gimmicky way to do that is growing potatoes in tyres, but that's not practical on a large scale; we'll perhaps have some fun later with that.
So, step one at how to plant potatoes is to clear some ground; last year there were green peas growing here and I added plenty of compost. That should have added sufficient nitrogen for our potatoes. I might plant a row of bush beans between the potatoes just to add more nitrogen. Bacteria in the nodules of legumes fix nitrogen from the air for the next generation of plants.
Step two is to go and buy a small pocket of seed potatoes. A pound or two would be adequate if this is your first time; try a small scale first.
Actually, step one is do these little exercises first; they take only forty seconds.
Step three is to dig your trench; I recommend about a foot deep maximum. You can go deeper but harvesting potatoes becomes more difficult; on the other hand you won't have to heap up the soil so high.
Place the potatoes about a foot apart in the trench, and cover with a small amount of soil.
I planted these on October 5; normally I would have planted earlier once the danger of frost is over, but we've had a severe drought this year. Waiting for the first spring rains was important. We started reaping three months later in mid January.
Every month or so I'll take more photos and track the progress of our growing potatoes. It will be about three months before when to harvesting comes into contention.
The potato stem is called the haulm; here they are just up, about three weeks after planting.
Ridging up the earth to prevent the plants from falling over is important; here they are a month later in flower.
Unfortunately it's been one of the wettest summers I've ever known; every evening a thick mist envelops our village with a light rain frequently. The potatoes haulm was hit by a late blight and they died back very quickly.
This hit the yield quite badly; perhaps the decision not to fertilise played a part too. Next year, over an above the heavy composting, I'll consider a little inorganic nitrogen.
We love new potatoes so as soon as they reach about the size of a golf ball we'll start harvesting them. With about six rows I'll have the luxury of the young spuds as well as the fully mature food.
The quality has been exceptional; the blight has not affected the potatoes at all.
Commercial farmers use various methods to destroy the haulm; this is to satisfy customers who want a particular size. It comes at a price however; chemical dessicants, herbicides, to kill the plant. We enjoy them large and small. How to plant potatoes to my mind is only worthwhile if you're going organic.
Now something about glycemic index and spuds; the GI of a meal is determined by the mix of carbohydrate, protein and fat, how you cook it, whether it's retrograded, and whether you can find new potatoes.
Eating potatoes on their own is not a good idea; they are very rapidly turned into blood sugar, calling for an insulin surge, and that sugar is then rapidly stored. Spuds, on their own, are very fattening.
But, in the context of the whole meal, as long as you have some butter or olive oil, or gravy, on your potatoes, it lowers the glycemic index; add beans, or hummus or a steak and it's lower still.
But, if you
have a serious weight problem, then you must stick to a maximum of one
potato; or none if your body mass index is over thirty. Never eat them hot, but allow them to retrograde in the fridge overnight.
Supplied by BMI Calculator South Africa
And then, of course, you must add your coloured vegetables if you are to keep the deadly homocysteine levels down; a green like broccoli for vitamin B6 and a yellow like carrots or butternut for the carotenes.
They provide too the fibre so essential for your colon; otherwise rabbit pellets and plenty of straining is on the cards; not good.
Banting diet has much to offer for those with a serious weight problem; that's emphatically low carbohydrate meals with plenty of fat; butter is back too, but avoid the margarines and polyunsaturates. How to plant potatoes is entirely off the radar.
Actually, I prefer the modified Banting diet; that means legumes and low glycemic index carbohydrates are allowed.
If you cut out all fruit and carbs like tomatoes, sweet potatoes and butternut then you'll just get cancer instead.
Couch potato? Sorry absolutely no spuds for you! Unless you start on this how to plant potatoes lark.
If you are overweight and insist on potatoes, then find out about two important terms; reheating resistant starch, and retrogradation. Perhaps you can have your spuds and eat them after all.
French fries are totally off limits; they have a glycemic index close to that of sugar.
Glycemic index is a measure of how fast a starch is turned to sugar in the blood stream; alas without plenty of veg, how to plant potatoes is a recipe for obesity.
For more about the carbohydrate count chart and glycemic index; you will find this link interesting.
for those who spend the energy digging the trenches for how to plant
potatoes, you've earned the right to eat them! It's hard work, but this
our next season and the spuds are looking fantastic in a much drier
season, watering from the rainwater reservoir. Lean years and fat years,
it's part and parcel of life.
Read up on it at our rainwater harvesting model. The end of your water woes.
Now that you've learned how to plant potatoes, it's time to make Irish potato leek soup, or vichyssoise. With all the leek fibre and a dollop of cream to lower the glycemic index, potato growers can indulge! Digging the trench, heaping up the soil, and reaping the rewards is not for sissies.
One of the oddest things is that in our exhausted, depressed and weary society, probably suffering from a mild dose of vitamin B1 deficiency, or beri-beri, from eating white refined rice, it's exercise and good food from the garden that gives me so much energy. She who must be obeyed has it too.
She gives maths lessons for three hours every afternoon, I treat chiropractic patients, she plants out broccoli, kale and sweet basil seedlings, I plant potatoes and corn and lima beans. She makes gooseberry jam on Saturdays, whilst I go gliding all day... I'm not boasting. But we are nearly seventy and bouncing with energy. If we were children, they'd be wanting to put us on Ritalin!
That's a most dangerous drug, by the way, and there are at least twenty better things you could do than have teachers insist your busy, vital kids go on to medication.
Oh, and we take absolutely no medication. Sound good? Turn the TV off and get into the garden, but don't start with a potato patch. Begin with the health benefits of spinach; call it Swiss chard if you will. It is THE most rewarding vegetable in the garden, and goes on for years, unless you live in Chicago. I know, I did my chiropractic training in Lombard, Illinois. A life without medication is a real possibility for most folk, if you start early enough with eating the right food and getting plenty of exercise.
How to plant potatoes is for those with a large vegetable garden.
Healthy choice foods is the name of the game; that's what gives us plenty of energy and verve. They taste just wonderful, fresh from the garden and we fall into bed exhausted and mostly sleep the night through, without the need for sleeping tablets. Never had one in my life; how to plant potatoes is hard work though.
Seeing I'm boasting, I forgot, I'm on my seventh book, about the first married pope in a thousand years. It won't be out for a while, but you could enjoy one of the others meantime. You do read I hope! Do yourself a favour and ask for a Kindle paperlight for Christmas. I'm having difficulty deciding whether to call it Priests Denied, or Prisoner of God.
Beating the moles is a subject that gets gardeners hot under the collar; they provide a very important function, aerating the soil, but the little devils just love our bulbs, and that includes potatoes.
We have several families that have decided our garden is an excellent place to take up residence; they too love fresh organic vegetables, none more so than potatoes, fennel and celery.
Planting potatoes in rows is inviting trouble; they simply made their way down the trenches, saying thank you very much. So this year we did something different; we planted them randomly around the garden. Voila, the moles took a few plants, but we have a plentiful supply of spuds.
Potatoes are heavy feeders, so they get plenty of leachate from the worm farms, and we are fortunate that whilst water scarcity in the world is a problem for many, it's not for us. Harvesting and storing rainwater is not so difficult.
I blog this website really for the fun of sharing the joys of being a greenie, and the power of chiropractic. If you find these pages interesting, then you are sure to enjoy one of my books.
56 Groenekloof Rd,
What's this site about?
Consulting a chiropractor
Bernie's healthy choice foods
Bernie's rainwater harvest