Here are tips for growing your own potatoes

What do you know about Spuds?

Not the vegetable … the small community near Hastings with a long history of potato farming. Starting with several Minorcan families settling in the area in the 1700s potato farming has been a major industry in the Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns County area.

By 1901, the area around Spuds had been dubbed “Potato Capital of Florida.” In 1911, Joseph Minton, a prominent local potato farmer, applied for a new post office and decided to give the community of Holy Branch a new name that better suited the area —Spuds.

Today, Spuds is little more than a few crumbling buildings at a wide spot on Florida 207, and some fading memories of the grandchildren of the farmers who once lived there. The post office may be long gone but not the potato farms that gave the community its name. Today these crops help make Florida an integral part of the supply chain for freshly harvested potatoes and ranked seventh in the nation for its high-value winter and early spring potato harvests.

A small community near Hastings has a long history of potato farming. By 1901, the area had been dubbed “Potato Capital of Florida.”

So, with all these potatoes so readily available at our doorstep, why bother to try to grow them at all?

Well, why do gardeners grow anything? It’s exciting to see the things you’ve planted peek their heads out of the ground. It can be economical to produce your own food. And, let be honest … it tastes better than store bought.

Potatoes don’t have to have a lot of space to produce an impressive yield. They can grow in the ground, of course. But in raised beds? Yes. A five-gallon bucket on the patio, or on the terrace of a high rise? Yep. How about in a cardboard box? It’s been done. Regardless of the space or container, it all starts with a few simple steps.

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