1 This week, Ryan and Wilmer prepared the potatoes for planting in the vegetable garden. The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum.
2 Some of the bigger varieties - bigger than the average sized chicken egg - were cut into pieces a couple of days ahead. Each piece should have at least two eyes.
3 Each cut side of a potato was coated with Douglas fir bark dust, which helps to heal the sliced area, so it doesn't shrink or curl. The slightly acidic bark is also a natural fungicide and moisture buildup barrier.
4 Many of the potatoes came from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds, a small, family owned business in Ellensburg, Washington. This Bake King variety produces oblong shaped potatoes with thick, white skin and floury white flesh. As the name suggests, it's a great baking potato. http://irisheyesgardenseeds.com
5 King Harry is an early season potato. It has white flesh and a moist, waxy texture.
6 Peter Wilcox is a very beautiful purple and gold variety. It stores well, and is great for potato salads. It is also good fried, roasted or boiled.
7 This Yukon Gem is blight resistant. It's a mid-season variety that is round to oval in shape, with light yellow skin and a creamy yellow flesh.
8 Reddale potatoes are big, round, flat, and red with white flesh. It's a dependable grower and prolific producer of uniformly shaped potatoes.
9 Huckleberry Gold is perfect for anyone who likes purple skins with golden yellow flesh. These potatoes are medium-sized, round to oval tubers - excellent for baking, boiling or frying.
10 These Daisy Golds are large, oval shaped potatoes with smooth, yellow skin and dark, yellow flesh. They're well-loved for baking, boiling and mashing.
11 A somewhat new variety from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds, Red Thumbs have brilliant red skins and reddish-pink flesh. This fingerling is uniformly shaped and produces prolific yields.
12 Satina is a specialty variety with yellow skin and yellow flesh. They have a tasty, buttery flavor, which makes them great for baking. They are also good for boiling and mashing.
13 Potatoes can be planted in cooler soils at least 40-degrees Fahrenheit. They do best as rotation crops, and should be placed away from where potatoes, tomatoes or peppers were grown in the last two years.
14 One way to plant them is to dig shallow trenches using a garden hoe. Adding organic matter is a good way to amend the soil before planting, but do not use matter sources too high in nitrogen, as too much can encourage the growth of lush foliage at the expense of tuber development.
15 Be sure trenches are also at least two to three feet apart to give the potato plants ample room to develop.
16 Each trench should be about four-inches deep. Potatoes perform best in soil with pH levels 4.8 to 5.5. Potatoes are easy to grow as long as they have access to full sun and moderate temperatures.
17 Place the seed potato pieces in the trench with its eyes faced up. When selecting seed potatoes, avoid planting those from supermarkets in case they were treated by sprout inhibitors.
18 If the eyes are not planted faced up, it's not the end of the world - the potatoes will find their way, but it may take a little longer for them to develop and grow.
20 Potatoes contain 18-percent starch, two-percent protein, and small amounts of vitamin-B6, iron, niacin, magnesium, thiamin, folic acid and potassium. They are also a good source of vitamin-C, low in sodium and easy to digest.
21 Replace the soil in the trench, fully covering the potatoes at least four-inches. Do you know... the average American eats approximately 142-pounds of potatoes each year?
22 Potatoes do best in well-drained, loose soil, and consistent moisture.
23 Once the potatoes have been properly spaced, remember to place a marker at the end of the trench identifying what was planted where.
24 If the trench seems too shallow, use a trowel to dig deeper holes for the potatoes.
25 Another method for planting potatoes, if the soil is in excellent potato-growing condition, is to plant the seed-potatoes about seven to eight inches deep, and skip deep mulching or hilling.
26 Planting potatoes deeper into the ground is a less tedious method, but it will require more effort at harvest. Potatoes need at least one-inch of water per week. Potatoes require less water to grow compared to other staple foods such as wheat, rice and corn.
27 This year's summer gardening intern here at the farm, Casey Brady, worked on her family's farm, so she was already familiar with the planting process - we put her straight to work.
28 Casey helped plant all eight potato beds. Potatoes are grown in every state from Florida to Alaska, yielding approximately 30-billion pounds of potatoes each year.
29 Ryan raked over the trenches to make sure each one was filled properly. All the beds in the vegetable garden are raised, so each newly planted mound was also weeded and neatly smoothed.