Disclosure :: Longue Vue sponsored this post.
One Potato, Two Potatoes :: Gardening With Children
Did you know there are over 1,000 varieties of potatoes? Growing potatoes is a fun and easy gardening project to do with children of all ages. In New Orleans, potatoes can be planted late January and February to harvest during the spring.
So, how do you plant potatoes?
Raised beds, wire cylinders, grow bags (made especially for growing potatoes), a stack of old tires, and many other planter types will work to sprout your spuds. At Longue Vue House and Gardens, a scatter method of planting is used in a freshly turned over garden area.
Now let’s get started planting!
You will need seed potatoes, a potato that has sprouted buds (sometimes called eyes or seeds) that will grow into a new plant. If you’ve ever kept your potatoes too long, you’ve probably seen them sprout buds. Potatoes are grown vegetatively, meaning to replant a part or all of the vegetable. At Longue Vue, whole, small seed potatoes are planted directly into the ground.
Choose a sunny spot with good drainage for your potato garden. Dig and loosen the soil. Then lay the potatoes in the soil, lightly pressing them in, and leaving a part of the potato just above the soil surface. Finally, mulch your garden with pine straw to deter weeds.
Another way to plant potatoes is to dig shallow rows, two or three feet apart and about six to seven inches deep. Place the potato in and cover with three to four inches of soil and then mulch with pine straw. Once the potatoes start growing, make sure all new potatoes are covered with soil to prevent them from having green areas that can taste bitter.
Now for the fun part!
It’s time to harvest when the plant tops start dying down. In New Orleans, this is late April or May. Gather the kiddies and start digging! Harvest carefully, with your hands or with a shovel, and turn the soil over as you search for your delectable treasures!
Visit Longue Vue House and Gardens’ Lucy C. Roussel Discovery Garden for children in April or May to see our potato patch during our monthly Little Diggers or Kinder Garden programs for children 18 months to 5 years of age. You can also visit Longue Vue online to learn more about our offerings for children and families!