dim
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potatoes on the top (is it normal?)

i plant some potatoes in my garden and some of them have been appeared on the surface. Basically, it has apeared only the top of them not the whole potato. Secondly, some of them are a little bit green.
Are these signs normal ?
thanks ! ;)

GardenLisa
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Yes, when potatoes are exposed to the sun, they turn green. you want to hill up the soil around and over them, because you can't eat green potatoes. Or, if you have access, put hay over them... much easier to fish out new potatoes from under hay.

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applestar
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The way I understand it, the new potatoes develop along the stems of new growth above the seed potato. That's why the traditional way to plant potatoes is to dig a trench or a hole, as deep as 12" deep according to some, put compost or manure in the bottom, add a buffer layer of soil, then lay the seed potato on top of that and cover with 1~3" of soil depending on weather conditions. As the potato shoots appear, you put back the soil that was dug out for the trench or hole around them and eventually mound the soil higher than the surrounding soil level. This is called "hilling" Like GardenLisa said, it's OK to just use straw and not soil -- key is to keep the developing potatos covered from sunlight.

Another method is to surround the potato bed with something to help hold the soil (like a compost pile structure) and make all your potato hill above ground.

I suspect that the below ground method works well in drier warmer areas where you want to keep your potato plant cooler, and the above ground method works better where the ground stays wet in spring and you want to warm up your potatoes to get them going. Once the warmer weather arrivesm, you need to water the above ground hill more often.

I'm still getting the hang of this, but the word is that once your potato plant starts flowering, you can start digging out little new potatoes, but you want to wait until the foliage yellows for full-sized potatoes.

GardenLisa
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mmmm new ptatoes and steak... can't wait

The Helpful Gardener
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I am doing potatoes in hoops this year but left some extra space at top for just this predicament...

HG
Scott Reil

dim
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I appriciate all your answers! ;)
Applestar you were very analytical, I' m sorry for my bad english, but could you repeat in case we have drier warmer areas how much deep should plant the potatoes ?

PS. What you have mentioned (12'') is it inches or something else? I prefer meters ...

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applestar
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12" = 12 inches = 30(.5) cm :wink:
I would guess about 5~8cm of manure/compost in the bottom, 3~5cm of soil buffer... I'll let you do the rest of the math! :lol:

Remember, there's less air movement in the hole so if your area is humid you might have problem with fungal diseases. If you have clay soil that doesn't drain well, you might end up with a "sunken bucket" filled with water and potatoes will rot.

Just for the record, I prefer the sheet mulch/lasagna garden method in which you put the potatoes near the bottom layer before piling up the straw/compost/soil/mulch. In my area where humidity can be high even in the middle of a drought, I don't dig that deep in established beds -- maybe about 9" down.... I like to end up with a saucer shaped depression to collect water, and when I hill up, I try to keep a slight depression around the stems and make a moat surrounding the hill for the same purpose.

dim
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thanks again AS ;)

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