DIRECTIONS FOR VEGETABLE GROWING*
As one of the staple needs of the
household Potatoes are entitled to special attention in Home Gardening and
community Gardening. In selecting for seed it is desirable to choose medium
to large, smooth, shall-eyed potatoes. The best seed will produce the best
crop. Potatoes grow best in sandy loam or in a gravel loam. Heavy, sticky
lay or loose sand is not desirable soil. Potatoes should not be grown in the
same place in the garden in which they were grown the previous year. A
rotation of three or four years is desirable.
Preparation of the soil should be done with care. The
ground should be worked with plow, spade and hoe, to a depth of 8 or 10
inches, and should be thoroughly broken up or pulverized, then thoroughly
worked with a steel-toothed rake. This preparation is of great importance
and should not be slighted. Attention to details is necessary to success.
Treat Seed for Scab**
One of the most common diseases affecting seed
potatoes is scab. This attacks the skin of the potato, causing it to
thicken, and giving it a scabby appearance. It is carried through the
winter, in soil, in manure and on the potatoes themselves. To control this
affection it is important that potatoes should be rotated with other crops
as to location, and the same soil not used for potatoes except at intervals
of three or four years. A simple remedy, easily applied, is to soak the seed
potatoes before planting, in a solution of Formalin** and water. This
solution is made of 1 ounce of Formalin (40 per cent formaldehyde), mixed in
2 gallons of water. In this mixture soak the uncut potatoes for two hours,
and spread them out to dry. The solution can be used on as many lots of
potatoes as desired.
Seed potatoes should be spread out in a room in which
they will be exposed to strong light for two weeks before cutting, to start
sprouts and detect poor seed. If large potatoes are used cut them into
pieces weighing from 1 to 2 ounces, each piece having at least two eyes. If
potatoes are scarce and expensive the pieces may be cut to a single eye. Do
not cut the seed until it is to be planted.
Fig. 14––Properly cut seed potatoes. Each
piece has two good eyes and is about the size of a hen's egg.
For planting, prepare trenches or furrows from 3 to 5
inches deep and from 24 to 36 inches apart. Plant seed pieces 3 inches deep
for early potatoes and 5 inches for late varieties. The seed pieces should
be 14 to 18 inches apart in rows, the smaller the pieces the closer the
planting. Fill the trench with dirt, firming it in order that the moisture
may be brought in contact with the seed pieces to assist in the process of
Usually potatoes should not be planted as late as the
first week in July very far north of the Mason and Dixon line except in
sections where it is known that they will mature before freezing weather
As soon as the potato plants come up begin
cultivating them. The cultivation should begin before they come up if a
crust forms. Cultivate or hoe every week during the season, to keep the
surface in good condition. When the plants are young work the soil up around
them to support the plants.
Potatoes are subject to diseases and insects which are
scheduled on page 21. Take precautions to keep these from getting a start.
Follow instructions as to spraying** and keep at it during the season. It is
better to spray before trouble appears than to take chances.
Dig early potatoes when they are of the size desired.
Late potatoes, for storing, should not be dug until the leaves and stems are
dead, or until the skin is so firm that it may not easily be rubbed off.
Fig. 15––On the left is shown tuber sprouted in warm, dark
storage place. Such sprouts sap vitality and decrease yield. On the right is
green sprouted tuber. By this latter method the tuber retains its vitality
and a good yield is insured.