Jacket Potatoes From Your Own Garden
Are you a fan of jacket potatoes? Do you want to eat some that you grew in your own garden? This article will discuss which varieties to grow and how to grow them.
To grow a good jacket potato, such as a russet potato, you need to provide the right care. Plant your russet potatoes in loose, well-drained soil with extra nitrogen. Hilling potatoes a few times throughout the growing season is essential to keep the tubers below ground. It is important to provide an adequate amount of water to get large, well-developed potatoes, which can be harvested when the plants die back in the fall.
A jacket potato is a dish where the potato is baked in its skin. When properly cooked, a jacket potato will have a crispy skin with a soft, fluffy inside. Let’s discuss which are the best type of potatoes for this dish and how to grow jacket potatoes.
How To Grow A Jacket Potato
A jacket potato is a potato that is baked with its skin on (like it is wearing a jacket), and they are known in North America as a baked potato.
There are many varieties that are popular for the jacket potato, and the ideal potato is a large, floury tuber. Most common are the Maris Piper, Desiree, King Edward, and the russet. Of these varieties, the russet is by far the most common. In many grocery stores, you can buy a potato already wrapped in foil that is ready for you to throw in the oven, and these are most often russets.
While it might sometimes be nice to buy these ready-to-go potatoes, we are going to discuss how to grow the best russet potato to make the best jacket potato.
Russet potatoes prefer well-drained, loose soils with lots of organic matter and compost. They do particularly well by adding nitrogen to the soil. This can be achieved by adding well-rotted manure which is high in nitrogen (particularly horse or chicken) or planting your potatoes beside peas and beans which fix nitrogen into the soil.
It is a good idea to let you seed potatoes grow eyes before planting (you can read about this process, called chitting, here).
Once your bed is prepared, plant the seed potatoes 8cm (3 inches) deep with the sprouts facing upwards, and cover them with soil. Space your plant 30cm (12 inches) apart in rows that are 60cm (24 inches) wide.
It is important to hill your potatoes throughout the summer. Hilling is simply piling dirt on top of your potatoes so they don’t emerge above ground. Potatoes have a fairly shallow root system, and hilling keeps the tubers covered where they can develop and so they don’t turn green in the sun.
Once the plants emerge after planting, add about 8cm (3 inches) of soil on top. When the plants are 15cm to 20cm (6-8 inches), add another 8cm of soil on top. This might be enough hilling to last for the year, but you can always cover them again if you feel the plants are getting too big, or if the tubers are popping out of the ground.
Potatoes are about 80% water so they do well when they receive adequate watering throughout the growing season. Water your russet potatoes once or twice a week if the soil feels dry. Because of their shallow roots, a light watering is sufficient.
To get decent-sized tubers, it is best to harvest after the plants die back. If your growing season is short, or you just can’t wait any longer, you can harvest earlier, but your potatoes will be a bit smaller.