2020 UPDATE - After 6 years I AM TRYING AGAIN. Check out the updated post here.
A little history on my failure of growing potatoes..
Last year I planted my potatoes in the spring time using a Potato Tower Method.
The potato tower concept is super simple and space saving. We used Kipfler potatoes, because it was the only variety of seed potatoes we could find at our local Bunnings.
The potato tower is pretty simple to make. Basically we put in some star pickets, wrapped some chicken mesh around, lined it with cane sugar mulch and put a layer of compost in the bottom, planted our potato seeds and covered it up.
As the potatoes grow to about 30 cm, you cover up (hilling) with extra compost. From what I've gathered the idea of hilling up the potato is to allow more room for the tubers to form and prevent the tubers from being exposed to sunlight and drying out.
It was growing great guns, but then we got hit with some spring time rain. It was a lot of rain.
In addition to the excess rain some bright spark (aka me) decided it was a good idea to use the extra space on the outside to create a lettuce garden. Unfortunately the lettuce required much more water than the potatoes and in the end the potato plants rotted.
This is how many potatoes we got.
Potato growing in Queensland - Round 2
To try and avoid the Queensland humidity we're going to attempt to grow our potatoes over winter this time, much to the shock of my mother (who lives in a temperate climate and gets regular frosts), she says they won't grow. But I am out to try to prove her wrong. Hopefully the drier and less humid weather will give them more of a chance, and luckily for us we don't get frosts.
We picked up some Organic Sebago seed potatoes from the markets (which on further investigation we were probably better off with some Dutch Creams but we'll see how we go). If you're looking for some seed potatoes Green Harvest has a good selection.
I put them in the cupboard for a few weeks and waited for their eye's to develop. I then cut them up and placed them in the bottom of my VegTrug - a wooden v-shaped raised garden bed that I picked up in the damaged section at Bunnings.
I have attempted to grow stuff in the VegTrug but failed, I think our sun is too hot as the top section dries too quickly, it's since been the holder of horse poo.
The plan is to do the hilling as the plants grow, much the same as the potato tower, but this time I'll ease up on the water. Stay tuned on my progress or follow me on instagram!
The irony of this is we actually don't eat that many potatoes, but I am a stubborn taurean and am determined to get a crop!
The trug method failed, the base just stayed too wet and the top dried out.
A few things extra that I have learned about attempting to grow potatoes in a sub tropical environment:-
- Potato seeds are really hard to find, and your local garden store will most likely have the potato seeds at the wrong time of year or a variety that won't cope with the humidity. You need to keep your eyes open and be prepared to store them until the right time to plant. Look online for seeds (local sellers) or better yet local garden markets and quiz out the sellers on what they've had the best success with for your region.
- The variety I've been told that does well in our climate is Nicola or dutch cream.
- Planting Potatoes in sub-tropical environments is best in early Autumn (unlike spring for everyone else).
- They don't like being too wet in our humid climate, humidity will bring in disease.
- If you want an abundant haul with less fuss, stick with growing sweet potatoes or yams.
Have you had success growing potatoes? Any tips would be greatly appreciated so leave a comment below!