The most important thing to make your child excited about gardening is choosing those fruits & vegetables that are easy for them to grow. I had planted many vegetables with my son in my balcony & believe me results were very satisfying for both of us.
One day i was explaining my son about vegetables that grows inside the soil. Though he understood it theoretically but i still wanted to explain him with examples. I went straight to the kitchen & found few seeded potatoes. The eyes were emerging from it. I told him, “Look at this potato, you can grow a plant from it & also you can grow new fresh potatoes from these few seeded potatoes” He was amazed just by the thought of it.
Growing potatoes is like a science experiment because you get involved in whole process. . Your potato can work itself as a seed. So explaining this to a kid is so exciting. During the whole process, my son’s eyes got widen as if he is observing a miracle in front of his eyes. He questions me. “Mumma how can this plant is growing so tall just from a potato? ” Is it possible,to grow potatoes at home? “How long will it take ?”Can we see potatoes from outside also? “How do we know that potatoes have grown?& so on. I just can’t explain the excitement level of my kid.
Here i’m explaining how to grow potatoes in containers in your balcony/terrace garden:-
Chitting: Chitting is the term used for sprouting of potatoes. Usually you will find seeded potatoes in your kitchen. If you don’t have any, all you can do is just keep your potatoes in a closed paper box for few days. You can use egg tray also. In few days you can get seeded potatoes. I have a lot of sprouted potatoes in my kitchen so i skipped this chitting process.
Planting: You need big deep pots for this. You can use big garbage bags also. Fill your pot with potting mix only 4 inches deep. Place your sprouted potatoes. If its a small potato, place it whole. If its a big potato, cut it in two halves.Each half should have two eyes on it.Cover your potatoes with some soil . Do not fill the whole container. Within 4-5 days you find few leaves emerging from it.
These plants grows so fast that your kid will never get bored in the process because everyday will be a new experience for him. As your plant starts growing, fill your pots with some more soil, so that its stems get covered not leaves.After 15-20 days, the plant look like this.
Fertilizing– After 20 days, you should add any organic fertilizer, which is rich in potassium & Calcium. This will help in forming more stronger roots & plant will produce more tubers. Repeat the same process after 40 days also. Keep filling your pot with soil as plant starts growing. Fill it till it reaches the rim of the pot. This is how my plant with few flowering buds looks after 1 month-
Harvesting- Usually it will take 60-90 days for a potato plant to prepare for harvesting. My plant is 45 days old now.Still there are few days left for harvest. Will update my blog after harvesting potatoes.
How will you know that your plant is ready to harvest:
You plant starts making tubers after it flowers. Gradually your plant dies completely. That is the time when you should harvest your potatoes.
My son is super excited about the gardening experiments going on in our house. This is our potato story . Do try this at your home & share your experience.