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Potatoes
Potatoes are a beautiful, cool season crop that enjoy full sun, and loose soil, with lots of organic material mixed in. A well-drained, fine sandy loam soil, high in organic matter is preferred. Aviod heavy liming, and the use of manure, as this leads to scabs.They grow best when seasonal temperatures are in the low sixties.

They take up lots of space, so it is probably best to grow them in a separate area from the rest of the garden. Potatoes can be grown in all types of containers. Black plastic trash bags, garbage cans, or even old tires stacked up can be used as a potatoe bed.

Potatoes are most often grown from "seed potatoes", which can be purchased at most local nurseries. Towards mid March, take the seed potatoes, and place them in a single layer in the bottom of a tray, with the end that has the most eyes pointing up. Then put the tray in an out of the way area that is cool and well lit for about 6 weeks, or when the shoots are about an inch in length.

If you want larger potatoes, only leave 3 shoots per tuber on some, and for more potatoes, leave all on of the tubers. Plant them in the garden during the first part of May, about 3-6 inches deep, depending on their size, and 1 1/2 feet or so apart. Being careful not to damage the shoots, cover them with an inch or so of soil.

Aviod heavy liming, as this leads to scabs. As the tubers begin to grow, keep them covered with soil, compost, or straw so that they don't start turning green. This also creates hills for them to grow in so that they don't fall down. Each time the plants get 4 inches tall, cover them again. (about every two weeks.)

Keep the soil evenly moist throughout the season; but don't start watering them until the tubers are about the size of a quarter. Check them by carefully digging into the soil. Once they are of adequate size, give them a boost by sprinkling the area with a granular, high-nitrogen fertilizer, and water thoroughly.

You can generally tell potatoes are about ready to harvest by when they have finished flowering. However, for highest yields and best storage, potatoes should not be dug until two weeks after vines have naturally died down. This allows the skins to set and reduces skin peeling, bruising and rot in storage.

To store potatoes, they should be cured in a dark place at 60 to 65 degrees F and a humidity of 85 percent or higher for 10 days. After they have cured, keep them in a cool, dark place with high humidity. Under these conditions most varieties won't start sprouting for two to three months.
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