Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Sunday, December 12, 2010

potato planting

a year ago, on some random push from me, DV planted a (SINGLE) potato and surprise surprise, it was a good output. we had harvested nearly 1 Kg from that single plant.

my mail was inspired by the potato tower experiment of Rob (of one straw-be the change)

we were certain that we would try one winter crop of potatoes, even though it has never been tried in the local area. except for the hill parts of Tamilnadu, no other place grows potatoes.
but the reason is purely commercial and not because it would not grow.
with the warmer winters in these areas, the chances of good tuber growth for a good yield and hence good money is low and hence no one attempts to grow them.

but here is our attempt.
aim is to plant around 5 kgs of potatoes as seeds and be happy with what we get :-)

step 1 - prepare a very loose soiled bed. we dug/loosened the soil upto 4 inches depth and then added around 2-3 inches of compost/loose soil.

step 2 - select potatoes with strong sprouts. these were potatoes from agra, which has a better sprouting tendency.

step 3 - cut them into halves (not smaller than thirds).

step 4 - place them on bed with approx 18 inches spacing.

step 5 - cover with compost and mulch

the trick (we learnt from Rob) is to hill the bed (cover with straw and compost) as the stem grows and allow for each node to further develop into tubers. so the final bed will be another 6-9 inches higher than it is now.
we shall see how this develops.

another 4 kgs to go....


Krupakar said...

Those elusive potatoes! Man...

madhavi said...

Great going csm
I understand what you mean by Rob's website - one can feel the passion and dynamism as you read his posts. Well tried the same potatoe experiment. Used rice bags to make the tower. I started sometime in september or so - grew so nicely i filled the entire rice platic bag and the shoots kept comming up as I added the soil+compost. Was out for 10 days in oct and my maid - bless her - not sure what happened - ended up with late blight I think - so waited till end of November and pulled it out. the entire bag was about 1-5 feet wide and 2 feet tall - question - was it too early to plant as I can start another one now - if cold winters are needed - as it is cold here in HYD. hope fully I will not be away too long this time around - awating your suggestion.

csm said...

krups - got them from the mega wholesale market in madras. they are mostly the agra variety. i asked around many retailers and one nice fella finally pointed me to the correct place and there i found these boys.
and in this season, the sprouting is just non-stop. the high humidity and the coolness is ideal for them to sprout away like crazy.
we have now done over 3 kgs in 5 beds.

m - try again now.

Anonymous said...

Silly to grow potatoes in a Hot humid place!!! This is silliness. Pototato is not even native to Indian-subcontinent. Instead of cracking the potato code, try to crack the turmeric code. Yes that applies to the home gardners in Hyd.

You should have planted Turmeric. Turmeric dried and pounded into powders that can be stored for a long time. Further it will give you lot of cash, Kilo for kilo turmeric fetches a farmer some 5x to 10x than potato. Does not take much space as well. All it needs is lots of sun and yes well drained "fertile" soil.

In fact entire south of Vindhyas should be planting Turmeric and using bananas instead of potatoes! Sure way to money.

csm said...

till we stop eating them, we dont mind being silly.
turmeric is growing, and soon we will have our potatoes spiced with our own turmeric.
it should be obvious to readers that we are not aiming to make a lot of cash.

and anon - you should come to madras now. you may change your opinion on hot and humid.