Plant potatoes in January and February when temperatures are 50 to 70 degrees (F). Plant four to six inches deep and a foot apart in sandy or loose soil enriched with lots of organic material. I cover my seed potatoes with 18 inches of old hay for easy harvest. I reach into the hay as soon as the potato plants start to bloom and pull out little new potatoes for cooking with fresh string beans from the garden. Potato plants need water to form good tubers. Water at least 18 inches deep infrequently and let the soil dry out between waterings. Dillard Feed & Seed on North Main Street in Weatherford got their seed potatoes in this week.
Plant a clump of horseradish on each corner of the potato patch to protect and enhance the growth of potatoes. Potatoes are susceptible to various diseases and insects. Beetles and aphids feast on the tender new shoots. Grubs and nematodes chew on the tubers. Protect your potatoes by planting lots of companion plants nearby. Peas and flowering shrubs and herbs planted throughout the garden give protection to all plants growing nearby. Petunias planted all around the potato patch helps repel beetles and aphids. Strawberries, Nasturtiums and Marigolds protect garden soil from nematodes and plants from insect damage. Do not plant potatoes near cucumbers, eggplants, pumpkins, sunflowers or tomatoes.
Listen to Jo Anne Boudreau on Herb Talk Thursday morning from 8 to 9 on KMQX 88.5, 89.5, KSQX 89.1, K249 97.7, K72AZ 93.3 FM radio and www.KYQX.com