Growing Your Own Potatoes
Always use disease free seed potatoes for planting. I got mine in a supermarket. Three different kinds this year. Let the seed potatoes sprout for 1 to 2 weeks before planting. They will do that with lots of light at 15 to 20 deg. C (60 to 70 deg. F) and let them put out 1 cm (1/2 inch) sprouts. Plant the seed potatoes with sprouts in the early spring when the soil temperature is above 7 deg. C (45 deg. F). I put mine in rows. They will break out of the soil about 2 weeks later.
Potatoes like full sun and I dug up part of my front lawn for these babies. They like light, loose and well-drained soil with a pH of 5.8 to 6.5. I turned over the soil to a depth of about 30 cm (12 inch). A potato bed needs a 2 year break to prevent diseases building up. In this break you must grow something else than potatoes.
It’s a good idea to earth up the small green potato plants as they grow, to increase the number of new potatoes under the surface. The new potatoes should not be exposed to sunlight as they grow, since that will make them green and toxic. As the plants grow they need water throughout the summer, but make sure to water in the morning to avoid disease, so that the plants have a chance to dry up during the day. When the leaves turns yellow and die it’s time to stop watering.
New potatoes can be harvested as early as 2 to 3 weeks after flowering. That’s the taste we’re all longing for, but for the main crop for storage wait until 2 to 3 weeks after the leaves have died. The potatoes can be dried unwashed for 2 to 3 days on the ground in dry weather or inside a dry garage. Store the potatoes well-ventilated in a dark and cool place at about 4 deg. C (40 deg. F). It should be possible to store them for 3 to 6 months.
Growing Your Own Squash
Squash plants like full sun and protection from the wind. A well drained soil with pH 6 to 7 is best. I have used a raised bed with good results, but then again pretty much everything I put in a deep dug raised bed is exploding into big vegetables.
Sow the seeds 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost when the soil temperature passes 16 deg C (60 deg F). I sow them in rows in the raised bed with each seed 3 cm (1 inch) below the surface. Plant 4 seeds together in the same spot and cover lightly with soil and water.
Thin the groups when the plants are 5 cm (2 inch) tall so that only one plant remains in the group. Water on dry days but stay off the leaves. That made one of my plants sick due to mildew. A trick is to grow radish between the squash plants to keep pests away. I’ll try that next year. Just let the radishes grow tall.
Summer squash will mature after 40-50 days, and after that look out for ready fruits every day because they grow really fast. Put some straw below on the ground to spare the fruits, which have soft skin.
Don’t let the fruits grow too big. 5 cm (2 inch) in diameter and 20 cm (8 inch) long will be fine. They will be ready to pick within 4 to 8 days after flowering.