There’s a new Mr. Potato in town. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a few new genetically modified potato varieties for farmers to grow commercially. There are genetically modified versions of the popular Russet potato and the Atlantic potato, the New York Times reports. It seems like every week another GMO fruit or vegetable is being approved just another good reason to grow your own!
Potatoes are fairly low maintenance, can be grown in a pot or in the ground, last a fairly long time if stored properly, and can be very nutritious (high in potassium and vitamin C). Here’s more incentive: according to this article, you can grow 100 pounds of potatoes in 4 sq. feet.
According to this article from the Seattle Times, potatoes planted inside a box with this method can grow up to 100 pounds of potatoes in just 4 square feet. All that is required:
- Seed potatoes
- Careful attention to watering
The Times’ guide for building a potato growing box yields up to a 100 lbs. of potatoes in a mere 4 square feet is shown below:
Plant as early as April or as late as August 1, with an approximated 3 month till harvest turnaround time.
Here are some pointers from the article:
- Cut apart larger seed potatoes, making sure there are at least two eyes in each piece you plant.
- Dust the cut pieces with fir dust, which seals the open ends from bacteria.
- Fertilize with 10-20-20 fertilizer at planting and a couple of times during the season.
- Water so that the plants are kept at an even level of moisture.
- Don’t plant in the same area in consecutive years or use the same soil to fill your potato box, as potatoes can attract various diseases.
“To save space, Lutovsky recommends building a box and planting inside it, adding sides to the box as the plant grows and filling the new space with mulch or soil. When the plant blossoms, it starts setting potatoes in this added soil. Soon after that, you can start removing the bottom boards from your box and “robbing” the plant, reaching in carefully and pulling out new potatoes.”
And if you’re unsure of the nutrition content of potatoes, here’s a handy label, compliments of the US Potato Board:
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