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Great & informative - Read Mike's newsletter for yourself

Mike McGroarty, Gardener Extraordinaire
If anyone knows how to grow anything, it's Mike McGroarty
. Here's Mike's no-fail method to growing the perfect spud.
Plus how to get free seed!

Mike's Column for February 2011

Potatoes are really easy to grow, but unlike most other vegetables you don't start with seeds or a starter plant. Instead, you start with a potato!

Most garden centers and farm stores sell seed potatoes which are nothing more than potatoes that have already started to sprout. These sprouts are known as eyes.

Where to Buy Seed Potatoes Online

If your seed potatoes have more than one eye (sprout) you can cut the potato into pieces with one or two eyes per piece. Cut them apart at least one day prior to planting. That will allow the potato to dry which will reduce the chance of disease or insect damage when you do plant them.

Plant your seed potatoes two to three inches deep in good rich soil. Your rows of potatoes should be 3 feet apart, and the plants in the row about one foot apart. Some people claim that if you toss a handful of pine needles into the hole with each seed potato that will prevent scab which is a blemish on the finished potatoes.

Don't start planting until the soil warms a bit. It takes warm soil for the potatoes to start growing, and if the seed potatoes sit in the cold damp ground for too long before they grow they could rot.

Once planted you should see new potatoes plants in three weeks for sure. Once your potato plants are about a foot tall take your garden hoe and pull about 6" of soil up around the plants. This is known as "hilling your potatoes" and it ensures that the new potatoes growing under ground are not exposed to any sunlight. It makes for a much tastier potato.

The potato plants will produce a bloom, once the plants have bloomed you can start sneaking a few potatoes for dinner. Once the tops have died back in the fall it's time to start digging and harvesting all of your potatoes. Just dig around the plants with a pitch fork, loosen the soil and sift through it with your fingers to find your plentiful crop of potatoes.

Allow the potatoes to dry out the direct sunlight, then once dry store them in a cool dry place and enjoy! That's it! Have a great week and as always stay inspired! - Mike McGroarty

Visit Mike at his 'Free Plants' website

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Highway7 E-zine, a publication of Hatch Media, is an electronic journal with a focus on commercial, historical, cultural and ecological issues concerning the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in Canada. Topics include a growing resource of currently more than 300 articles. More articles and image galleries are added frequently as new material is brought to our attention. With Highway7.com, our primary aim is to serve, inform and reflect the rural communities on the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia, as well as to acquaint new residents, visitors, tourists, and investors with the special beauty and enormous potential of our region.
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