How to Grow Potatoes in the School Garden

I am planting potatoes today with the grade three class at the Ladner Community Garden. Potatoes are easy to grow and a delight for children to harvest. This is one vegetable that every child should grow. If you don’t have room in the garden for planting, why not plant potatoes in containers? I grew some potatoes in large black nursery pots with great success.

You want to start by purchasing good quality seed potatoes.  I bought these seed potatoes yesterday from West Coast Seeds. I will be planting one seed potato per hole in raised beds in our children’s garden. Actually the children will be planting with adults overseeing the process. This week we will plant half a dozen potatoes followed by other varieties in two weeks time.

Growth from seed potatoes come from what is known as eyes on the seed potatoes.  Most potatoes are planted in the ground in early April in the lower mainland of British Columbia. We are planting early because the raised beds tend to warm up faster in the spring allowing us a bit of a jump on planting. We try to plant as early as we can so that the school children can harvest potatoes before the end of the school year in June. Its not much fun to plant, see them grow but not harvest so timing is important in the school garden.
Once you have decided which potatoes to plant from the many varieties available, its time to pick your site. Pick a site in full sun with well prepared fertile soil. Do not add manures to the potato bed before planting.
Small seed potatoes should be planted whole. Larger ones can be cut as long as you have at least one to two eyes on the piece of potato. Plant seed about four inches deep and one foot apart in rows. I like to leave about two feet in between the rows so the plants have enough room to grow.
Now its time to get planting. I can’t wait to cook up the potatoes for our school picnic in June.

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