From the balcony to the backyard, there's a method for everyone to grow some of their own potatoes.
Originally from South America, these small balls of goodness contain high amounts of vitamin C (among other nutrients), and are one of the only carbohydrates you can grow yourself.
There are literally thousands of varieties to choose from - I planted Dutch cream spuds.
Three ways to grow spuds - watch it now.
For ultimate growing success, you need to make sure your potatoes are planted somewhere that gets full sun with good drainage and rich soil - so lots of compost or aged manure.
Ideally, use potatoes that are seed certified, which means they are disease free.
But seriously, use what you've got, do what you can. It's better to do something rather than nothing.
Late winter or early spring is the optimal time to plant potatoes - a few weeks before your last frost. Frost harms the leaf, so you're looking to avoid the cold snaps.
You want to plant spuds that are already sprouting. This process is called "chitting". By sprouting them before you plant them out, they're getting a head start on growing.
The pot method
This method is for people with tiny amounts of space, like a balcony or courtyard. It would also suit renters who aren't allowed to dig up the lawn.
Place some soil in the bottom of your pot, plant a couple of sprouting potatoes in a finger-length-depth of quality soil with the "eyes" (sprouts) pointing up. Add just enough soil to cover the potato, then pat down and lightly water.
Leave until you see a potato leaf start to grow. When this happens add more soil and mound it up around the leaves. As the leaves continue to grow keep building up the soil until the pot is full and the leaves spill over the top. When the leaves start to die and turn brown, tip out your pot onto a tarp to harvest your potatoes.
The in-ground method
If you're starting with lawn, this method involves a fair amount of digging and weeding. It's great for folk without access to lots of resources to build a no-dig garden.
Adding some compost will help provide plenty of food for the potato plants though.
Dig rows of shallow trenches roughly half a metre apart and mound up the soil either side. Space your potatoes about 20 to 30 centimetres apart along the trench with the eyes pointing up.
Dig a small hole to place each potato in, then pat soil over top and water. Leave your mounds, they will come into play later. Over time as the potato leaves start to grow, take some soil from either side of the mound and push it down around the leaves and eventually the mounds will flatten out.
The no-dig method
This is our preferred method as it looks after, and fosters fantastic soil health. Wherever possible we always work towards a no, or minimal till (digging) approach to gardening so we minimise or eliminate how much we disturb the soil profile. Why? Because each time you dig the ground you're releasing carbon into the atmosphere and destroying the structure of the soil.
For this method, overlap layers of cardboard straight onto the grass and water in. This will suppress grass and weeds from growing. Next add a layer of thick straw mulch and water it in thoroughly. On top of this add a layer of compost. Repeat the process alternating layers, finishing with a layer of straw mulch. Space out your potatoes and dig a nice deep hole to plant them.
Importantly, as your potato crop grows only water it if needed. Too much water can often cause disease and other problems.
When your plants start to flower is the best time to feed them. You can use liquid fertiliser of seaweed or compost to "fertigate" (fertilising and irrigating together).
You can harvest once the potato plant dies back (when it's nice and brown). Or you can bandicoot harvest, which means you can start digging up the baby potatoes before they are fully mature.
Once you harvest your potatoes, dry them off and store in a cool, dark, dry space, like a kitchen cupboard or shed. Remember, never eat green potatoes as they are poisonous.
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Finally always practice crop rotation. Potatoes are in the nightshade family so if you plant them in the same spot each year soil disease is likely to happen. So wait a few years before planting in the same spot again.
The main thing is there is a solution for any situation, so have a go and good luck.
- Hannah Moloney and Anton Vikstrom are the founders of Good Life Permaculture, a landscape design and education enterprise regenerating land and lifestyles.