Traditionally potatoes in Sydney are planted in August. This is to ensure that all possible frosts have been and gone which means the tubers won’t be damaged by any extreme chills. I’m not sure we had a winter. Maybe it’s coming late? Maybe it was those few cold days we had? Maybe it’s never coming again? Whatever it is, it’s time to plant potatoes.
I love growing potatoes. I love growing them because they taste so much better than if you buy them (unless you buy them straight from the source). And I love growing them because it’s a lot of fun to harvest them. A dirty treasure hunt. I’ll never get tired of those excited squeals from children and adults as a potato is spotted.
So how do you grow them? Potatoes need lots of food and free draining soil. You can grow them straight in the ground by digging in compost and/or cow manure and then planting your seed potatoes in a trench. When the potatoes start growing you back fill the trench around the plants.
You can also grow them vertically. At Randwick Public School we grow them in old bins with drainage holes cut into the base. At Stanmore Public School we grow them straight in the ground and in hessian sacks. As the plants grow you keep covering them (leaving the top 2-3 leaves showing) with compost or straw. I don’t use sugar cane mulch as I find this holds water too well and potatoes don’t like being soggy.
The longer the potato plants grow the bigger your potatoes will be. Traditionally you harvest potatoes when the plant has died back however you can also sneak your hand in and carefully pick a few new potatoes if you want them early. You need to be careful not to disturb the roots if you want to do this. It’s call ‘bandicooting’.
So because I love growing potatoes so much I came up with a design made from recycled hard wood that allows anyone to grow potatoes pretty much anywhere there’s a bit of sun. The bins are okay but they don’t let enough light in in the early stages. The hessian bags are ok but they are hard to fill and roll. The boxes are better. The boxes also have extenders. This means you can vertically grow by extending the box upwards allowing you to fill it with more compost or straw.
I have one of our potato boxes planted and ready to go. I’ll include an extender and deliver to the eastern or inner west suburbs of Sydney. If you live outside of these areas you will need to be prepared to pick up from either the eastern or inner west suburbs.
To go into the draw all you need to do is like and share my facebook page, add a comment that you’ve shared to me and I’ll put you in the draw. My four year old will choose a winner at the end of next week.
If you want to skip the competition and get right into planting and growing, you can order a box on our website!