How deep plant potatoes?

A few years ago, I conducted a test: I grew German Butterball potatoes using seven different planting methods. Through the course of the growing season, the benefits and drawbacks of each became quite clear.

Read on to discover which ones worked the best, and which ones delivered subpar results.

Contents

1. Cheapest: Hilled Rows

Mitch Mandel

Dig straight, shallow trenches, 2 to 3 feet apart, in prepared soil. Plant seed potatoes 12 inches apart and cover with about 3 inches of soil. When the shoots reach 10 to 12 inches tall, use a hoe or shovel to scoop soil from between rows and mound it against the plants, burying the stems halfway. Repeat as needed through the growing season to keep the tubers covered.

Unlike container gardening, there’s nothing to buy or build and no soil to transport. This is a simple, inexpensive, and proven method that farmers have used for millennia. It’s practical for large-scale plantings, also.

However, the quality of the soil may limit the yield. In places where the dirt badly compacted or low in organic matter, an above-ground technique might work better.

Here’s a video that shows this potato-planting method:

2. Least Digging: Straw Mulch

Mitch Mandel

Place seed potatoes on the surface of prepared soil following the spacing specified for hilled rows and cover them with 3 to 4 inches of loose, seed-free straw. Mound more straw around the stems as they grow, eventually creating a layer of one foot or more in depth.

The benefit here is that the thick mulch conserves soil moisture and smothers weeds. Harvest is effortless with no digging, and this method is suggested as a way to thwart the Colorado potato beetle. However, this produced a smaller yield than the hilled row and field mice have been known to use eat the crops under the cover of the straw.

3. Biggest Yield: Raised Beds

Mitch Mandel

Loosen the soil in the bottom of a half-filled raised bed. Space seed potatoes about 12 inches apart in all directions and bury them 3 inches deep. As the potatoes grow, add more soil until the bed is filled. If possible, simplify harvest by removing the sides.

This method yielded the largest harvest in my trials, and the potatoes were uniformly large in size. Raised beds are a good choice where the garden soil is heavy and poorly drained. The downside: The soil to fill the bed has to come from somewhere — and it takes a lot.

4. Good for DIYers: Wood Boxes

Mitch Mandel

Build or buy a bottomless square box — I used lumber from discarded pallets — and plant the same as for a raised bed. The box is designed so you can add additional slats and soil as the plants grow. In theory, you can temporarily remove the bottom slat for harvesting, or just tip it over.

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This is another strategy for growing potatoes where the ground soil is of poor quality. It yielded a similar quantity to the raised bed. However, a lot of time and effort went into building the box and I felt the results did not justify the effort.

5. Best for Wet Yards: Wire Cylinders

Mitch Mandel

Using hardware cloth with ¼-inch mesh, fashion a cylinder about 18 inches in diameter and 24 inches tall. Put several inches of soil in the bottom, then plant three or four seed potatoes and cover them with 3 inches of soil. Continue to add soil as the potatoes grow. To harvest, lift the cylinder and pull the soil back to expose the tubers.

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In a climate with incessant spring rains, the wire mesh would provide excellent drainage and prevent the soil from getting waterlogged. This is another raised technique to consider where garden soil is poor. Unfortunately, I only harvested a small number of undersized tubers from the cylinders — a dismal showing, probably because the soil-compost mixture I used dried out so quickly that the plants lacked adequate moisture.

6. Easiest Harvest: Grow Bags

Mitch Mandel

Commercial growing bags are made with heavy, dense polypropylene. Put a few inches of a soil-compost mixture in the bottom of a bag, then plant three or four seed potato pieces and cover with 3 inches of soil. Continue adding soil as the plants grow until the bag is full. To harvest, turn the bag on its side and dump out the contents.

Grow bags can go on patios or driveways or where garden soil lacks nutrients. The bags should last for several growing seasons. Their dark color captures solar heat to speed early growth. Harvest is simple and the yield can be impressive, considering the small space each bag occupies. However, this can be a pricey technique. The brand of bag I used costs $12.95.

7. Best to Skip: Garbage Bags

Mitch Mandel

Fill a large plastic garbage bag the same way as a grow bag, punching a few holes through the plastic for drainage. Roll the top edge of the bag to help it stay upright; otherwise the bag will sag and spill soil. To harvest, rip the bag and pour out the contents.

Like the grow bags, a garbage bag can be employed where in-ground growing is not an option. Black bags capture solar heat to speed early growth. Aesthetically, however, this is the least appealing choice. Our yield was meager, perhaps because the thin plastic allowed the soil to heat up too much, limiting tuber formation.

Potato Growing Guide

The humble potato is a staple on many dinner tables around New Zealand. Roasted, boiled, mashed or in a salad – no matter how you serve yours, they will always taste better dug out of your own garden. Plant Tui Certified Seed Potatoes in garden beds or containers.

Prepare

Grow your potatoes from Tui Certified Seed Potatoes – these are certified to ensure they are true to type, and will grow a healthy crop. Select a variety of seed potatoes that suits your tastes/how long you want to wait for your potatoes to be ready. View the list of Tui Seed Potato Varieties here, and

Buy your seed potatoes at least a month before planting, to enable them to sprout. Remove them from the bag and place in trays in a dry, airy spot away from direct sunlight, until sprouts are approximately 20-40mm long.

If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like sheep pellets and Tui Compost to your soil.

Make long furrows in the soil approximately 300mm apart for smaller varieties and 400mm apart for main crop and larger varieties.

Place palings between the furrows to walk on while planting.

Plant

Directions for planting in garden beds:

Add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix, a high quality natural-based planting mix containing the right blend of nutrients to provide your potatoes with the best possible start and sustained growth throughout the season. If planting in pots and containers use Tui Vegetable Mix.

  • Sprinkle Tui Potato Food in the furrows and blend into the soil.
  • Place seed potatoes approximately 250mm apart in the furrows.
  • Cover with up to 50mm of soil.
  • Water your potatoes well.
  • Continue mounding your potatoes with Tui Vegetable Mix as shoots grow, until they are approximately 300mm tall. This protects them from wind and frost, prevents light reaching tubers and turning them green, and encourages tuber development.

Directions for planting in containers or grow bags:

  • Make sure there are plenty of drainage holes in your container.
  • Add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix to the bottom of the container.
  • Place seed potatoes in Tui Vegetable Mix near the bottom of the container.
  • Add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix to cover the potatoes.
  • Water your potatoes well.
  • As the sprouts grow, keep adding mix until it is up to the brim of the container.

Nourish

Feed your plants and they will feed you. Replenishing nutrients used by your plants ensures they will grow to their full potential. Potatoes are gross feeders, feed every three to four weeks during key growth periods. For potatoes planted in garden beds feed with a specialty fertiliser like Tui Potato Food, which contains high levels of phosphorus and potassium promote healthy tuber production and plant growth.

If planting in pots and containers use an all purpose variety, such as Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser.

Well watered, well nourished potatoes will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.

The weather, weeds, pest insects and diseases can all impact on the success of your garden. Mounding will help protect your potatoes from the elements. Carefully hoe around sprouts to keep your crop weed free. When watering, water the soil not the foliage to avoid blight. Be vigilant and stop unwanted insects and diseases from ruining your plants.

Harvesting & Storage

Early varieties are ready to harvest when the flowers are fully opened, approximately three months after planting, (except for Nadine, Rocket and Swift which may have few or no flowers on them). Main and late cropping varieties are ready when the foliage dies off. If you can easily rub off the potato’s skin with your thumb, the variety of potato is not good for storing, so eat these first. Earlier varieties are generally unsuitable for storing. As soon as potatoes have been dug, dry thoroughly and store in a cool, dark, well ventilated position. Carefully stored potatoes should last for up to six months.

Once you’ve harvested your potatoes, try our Crispy Lemon Potato recipe to enjoy your bumper crop.

Tui Tip:

  • Don’t plant potatoes in the same place each year, and avoid planting them where tomatoes have been planted the previous season, to reduce the risk of spreading disease.

For something different, try our Potato Tower Gardening Hack below!

Planting Potatoes: Learn How Deep To Plant Potatoes

Let’s talk potatoes. Whether French fried, boiled and turned into potato salad, or baked and slathered with butter and sour cream, potatoes are one of the most popular, versatile and easy-to- grow vegetables. Though many people are familiar with when to plant potato crops, others may question how deep to plant potatoes once they’re ready for growing.

Information on Growing Potato Plants

When undertaking the cultivation of potatoes, be sure to purchase certified disease-free seed potatoes to avoid some of the nasty diseases like potato scab, viral disease or fungal issues such as blight.

Plant the potato seed about two to four weeks before your last late frost date, depending on the potato variety and whether it is an early season or late season type. Soil temperature should be at least 40 F. (4 C.), and, ideally, moderately acidic with a pH between 4.8 and 5.4. Sandy loam amended with organic matter to improve drainage and

soil quality will promote healthy growing potato plants. Apply the manure or compost in early spring and combine thoroughly using a rotary tiller or spade fork.

Also, don’t attempt planting potatoes where you have already grown either tomatoes, peppers, eggplants or potatoes in the past two years.

How Deep to Plant Potatoes

Now that we have the basics for planting potatoes figured out, the question remains, how deep to plant potatoes? A common method when planting potatoes is to plant in a hill. For this method, dig a shallow trench about 4 inches deep, and then place the seed spuds eyes up (cut side down) 8-12 inches apart. Trenches should be between 2-3 feet apart and then covered with soil.

The planting depth of potatoes starts at 4 inches deep and then as the potato plants grow, you gradually create a hill around the plants with loosely hoed soil up to the base of the plant. Hilling prevents the production of solanine, which is a toxin that potatoes produce when exposed to the sun and turns potatoes green and bitter.

Conversely, you may decide to sow as above, but then cover or hill the growing potato plants with straw or other mulch, up to a foot. This method makes the potatoes simple to harvest by pulling back the mulch once the plant dies back.

And lastly, you may decide to skip the hilling or deep mulching, especially if you have great potato growing soil and optimal conditions. In this case, the planting depth of potatoes should be about 7-8 inches for the seed spuds. While this method makes the potatoes slower growing, it requires less effort during the season. This method isn’t recommended for cold, damp areas as it makes for a difficult digging out process.

Potatoes require a cool but frost-free growing season. Grow potatoes through the summer in cool northern regions. Grow potatoes in fall, winter, and spring in hot summer southern regions.

  • Plant potatoes as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost in spring or any time after the soil temperature warms to 40°F.
  • Potatoes need 75 to 135 or more cool, frost-free days to reach harvest depending on the variety.
  • Harvest late winter or spring-planted potatoes before daily temperatures average 80°
  • Potatoes do not grow well in extreme heat or dry soil. High temperatures can cause mature potatoes to discolor inside.

Which potato to plant: Potato Types and Varieties.

Planting Potatoes

Where to Plant Potatoes:

  • Grow potatoes in full sun.
  • Plant potatoes in fertile, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Add several inches of aged-compost or commercial organic planting mix to planting beds before planting.
  • Loosen the soil to 18 inches deep or grow potatoes in raised or mounded beds.
  • Do not grow potatoes where the soil is compacted, heavy with clay, or constantly wet.
  • A soil pH of 5.0 to 5.5 is best for potatoes. Alkaline soil increases the size of the crop but also increases the incidence of scab–a condition that affects the skin of the potato.

Potatoes need 75 to 135 or more cool, frost-free days to reach harvest depending on the variety.

Planting Time for Early, Midseason, and Late Season Potatoes:

Potato varieties are classified according to the number of days they require to come to harvest. The ideal temperature for growing potatoes is 60° to 70°F; temperatures greater than 80°F are too warm for potatoes. Grow a variety that can come to harvest in cool to mild, not hot, weather.

  • “Early” season (early maturing) varieties require 75 to 90 cool days to reach harvest. Early potatoes are the best choice for southern regions where summers become very warm or hot.
  • “Midseason” varieties require 90 to 135 cool days to reach harvest.
  • “Late-season” (also called long season) varieties require 135 to 160 cool days to reach harvest. Late-season potatoes are a good choice for northern regions where the weather stays mild all summer.

Plant potatoes no later than 12 weeks before the first expected autumn frost.

If you live where winters are mild and summers are hot, plant late season potatoes in winter for harvest in mid to late spring before the weather turns hot or plant early-season potatoes in late summer for a fall crop.

In mild summer regions, you can plant early, mid-season, and late-maturing cultivars in spring for an extended harvest season.

More tips: Potato Growing Tips.

Potatoes need 75 to 135 or more cool, frost-free days to reach harvest depending on the variety.

Planting and Spacing Potatoes:

  • Grow potatoes from “seed potatoes.” Seed potatoes can be whole potatoes or pieces of whole potatoes. A seed potato must have at least one eye to sprout. An “eye” is a puckered spot where sprouts develop.
  • Plant certified disease-free seed potatoes. Supermarket potatoes have been chemically treated to prevent sprouting.
  • Two or three weeks before planting, set seed potatoes in a bright, 65° to 70°F place to encourage sprouting.
  • Cut whole seed potatoes into pieces with a sharp knife two days before planting; each piece should have at least two eyes
  • Plant seed potatoes in a hole or trench 4 inches deep and cover with 2 inches of soil.
  • Plant cut pieces with the cut side down.
  • Sow seed potatoes 12 to 18 inches apart; space rows 24 to 36 inches apart.
  • When seedlings (developing sprouts) emerge, add the remaining 2 inches of soil to the hole or trench.
  • Keep adding light soil as plants grow tall. Leave the top two sets of leaves exposed.
  • Potatoes also can be planted on top of the ground if they are covered with a 12-inch thick mulch of straw or hay.
  • Each plant will produce about 5 to 10 potatoes or 3 to 4 pounds.

More tips: Potato Seed Starting Tips.

Container Growing Potatoes:

  • Potatoes can be grown in containers. Use a shallow wooden box or a half barrel with the bottom removed; use stacked old tires or use special potato-growing bags or barrels.
  • Plant seed potatoes at the bottom of the container.
  • When plants grow from 8 to 10 inches tall, add enough soil to cover all but the top 2 or 3 sets of leaves. Continue this process until the maturity date for the variety you are growing then harvest.

Growing Potatoes in Trenches, Mulch or Containers.

Companion Plants for Potatoes:

  • Grow potatoes with beans, cabbage, corn, eggplant.
  • Avoid planting potatoes near cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, tomatoes, or raspberries. These plants are attacked by the same pests and diseases as potatoes.

Keep the soil evenly moist for potatoes.

Caring for Potatoes

Watering Potatoes:

  • Keep potatoes evenly moist but not wet; water before the soil dries out.
  • Potato tubers will rot if the soil is too wet.
  • Even soil moisture is important; fluctuations in soil moisture—wet, dry, wet—can lead to cracked or knobby tubers.
  • Mulch to protect tubers from the sun, conserve soil moisture, prevent the soil from becoming too warm, keep weeds down, and discourage pest insects.

Feeding Potatoes:

  • Feed potatoes by sprinkling 5-10-10 fertilizer across the planting bed before planting; add this again as a side dressing at midseason. Choose a fertilizer that includes calcium and magnesium.
  • Avoid giving potatoes too much nitrogen; too much nitrogen will encourage foliage growth over tuber growth.
  • Where the soil is poor, drench the soil with a cup or more of compost tea shortly after planting. Spray-mist foliage with compost tea every two weeks through the season.

Protect maturing tubers from sunlight by hilling up soil over plants

Maintaining Potatoes:

  • Be careful not to compact the soil around potatoes. Use boards between rows to avoid walking on the soil.
  • Protect maturing tubers from sunlight by hilling up soil over plants or applying additional mulch to all but cover the plants. Exposed tubers will sunburn or their shoulders will become green (called greening). Green potatoes produce a chemical called solanine. Solanine is both bitter-tasting and toxic.
  • Carefully cultivate around plants or mulch to keep weeds down.

Potato Pests and Diseases

Potato Pests:

  • Potatoes can be attacked by Colorado potato beetles, leafhoppers, flea beetles, and aphids.
  • Handpick both adults and larvae Colorado potato beetles and destroy them.
  • Use Bacillus thuringiensis to control potato beetles, leafhoppers, and flea beetles.
  • Knock aphids off plants with a strong blast of water.

Scab disease can cause potatoes to have rough skin.

Potato Diseases:

  • Potatoes are susceptible to blight and scab.
  • Spray plants with compost tea every two weeks to control blights.
  • Scab can cause potatoes to have rough skin but does not affect the eating quality of the potato.
  • If scab is a problem maintain a soil pH below 5.2.
  • Plant disease-resistant varieties and practice crop rotation.

More on potato problems: Potato Growing Problems: Troubleshooting.

Harvesting and Storing Potatoes

Harvesting Potatoes:

  • Potato stems and leaves turn brown and flowers fade as tubers below ground mature.
  • Potato tubers can be harvested at any size. Potatoes harvested before they mature are called new potatoes.
  • As potatoes mature their skins harden. The skin of a new potato will easily peel off when rubbed. New potatoes cannot be stored but must be used right away.
  • A potato plant will produce 3 to 6 regular-size potatoes and a number of small ones.
  • Use a spading fork to dig up potatoes. Lift potatoes gently to avoid bruising or damaging the skins. Use your fingers to harvest potatoes if need be.
  • Potatoes can be left in the ground past maturity until the first frost, but they are most nutritious if harvested when they mature.
  • Protect harvested potatoes from sunlight; potatoes exposed to light will green and produce a bitter chemical compound called solanine.
  • Allow potatoes to cure before storing them. Curing will harden the skins for storage. Set tubers in a single layer in a dark place at 50° to 60°F for two weeks to cure.
  • Store potatoes at about 40°
  • Save the best tubers for planting next season. Don’t save potatoes that are soft or discolored. Don’t save potatoes if any of the plants have been hit by a disease.

When to harvest: Potato Harvest Calendar.

Fingerling potatoes

Storing and Preserving Potatoes:

  • Store potatoes in a dark, well-ventilated place at about 40°F.
  • Potatoes will keep for about 6 months.
  • Do not refrigerate potatoes.
  • Prepared or new potatoes freeze well. Potatoes also can be dried.

More tips: How to Harvest and Store Potatoes.

The flesh of the potato can be white or match the color of the skin.

Potato Varieties to Grow

  • There are more than 100 varieties of potatoes.
  • There are four basic potato categories: long whites, round whites, russets, and round reds. You can also grow potatoes with yellow or bluish-purple skins.
  • Potato flesh may be white or match the skin color: red, yellow, or blue.
  • Potatoes can be round, cylindrical, or finger-like, called fingerlings
  • Potatoes can be categorized as moist or dry. Dry potatoes are good for baking and mashing (varieties include ‘Russet Burbank’ and ‘Butte’). Moist potatoes fall apart when cooked; they are a good choice for soups.
  • Check your cooperative extension service for specific recommendations for your area.

Recommended Varieties: Here are potato varieties to grow in a home garden:

Related articles: Potatoes for Cooking; also Potatoes: Kitchen Basics

About Potatoes

  • The potato is a perennial vegetable grown as an annual.
  • Botanical name: Solanum tuberosum
  • Origin: Chile, Peru, Mexico

More tips: Growing Organic Potatoes.

Grow 80 vegetables: THE KITCHEN GARDEN GROWERS’ GUIDE

Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Potatoes

Written by Hillary Heckler, Country Farm and Home

Few crops are as rewarding to grow as potatoes. From watching their little eyes open and emerge from the soil after planting to peaking around the base of the plants to see the first tubers forming to finally harvesting a bountiful crop of fresh potatoes…no matter if it’s your first or 50th crop the whole process is magical. Got questions? We’ve got answers….

Dear Tater Whisperer:

What is a ‘seed’ potato?

With the exception of plant breeders, we propagate potatoes vegetatively or asexually; potatoes of the same variety are genetically identical to their parents. So, the ‘seed’ that you’ll find to grow potatoes looks like, well, a potato. However, there are some significant differences that separate seed potatoes from the ones you find in the grocery store.

First, most potatoes in the grocery store have been treated with a sprout-inhibitor that prevents the potatoes’ eyes from developing while in storage and on the shelf. Seed potatoes are NEVER treated with sprout inhibitors. This alone can be the difference between growing potatoes successfully or not.

Second, any seed potatoes you buy should be CERTIFIED DISEASE FREE. Potatoes intended to be sold for seed are tested for a panel of diseases before receiving a government-issued ‘disease-free’ certificate. Any seed lots that test positive are not certified and are not sold. Without this assurance, you could unknowingly introduce diseases into your crop and your soil that could persist for many years. So, if you like growing potatoes, don’t risk planting seed from questionable sources because there’s no way of knowing what else you’ll be planting.

Can I save my own seed from my potato crop?

I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s not so much that it can’t be done, it’s that it can’t be done well here in the Southeast without incurring some significant risks. Risks include transmitting diseases from saved seed to the next crop and losing your seed crop in storage because the tubers are not technically mature.

Seed potatoes have been grown to physical maturity meaning they were cured in the ground before harvest and are able to be stored successfully to produce next year’s crop. You’ll notice that most seed potatoes come from northern latitudes like Colorado, Idaho and Maine. These climates have the kind of weather potatoes need to produce high quality, disease-free seed crops.

The potatoes we grow in the Southeast are considered ‘new’ potatoes, regardless of size, because they’re being harvested off plants that are still alive. These ‘new’ potatoes have very fragile skins, are easily damaged and will not cure in the ground due to the heat of summer soils. Lucky for us, we’re just in it for the goods and can still enjoy quality potatoes for food if not for seed.

What kind of fertilizer should I use with potatoes and how much?

GET A SOIL TEST before adding anything to your soil. Like salting a soup, once the salt’s in, you can’t take it out. The same principle applies to amending agricultural soils. How do you know what you need if you don’t know what you have? Soil testing will answer those questions and provide amendment rate recommendations based on your results. North Carolina offers free soil testing from April to November; from December to March soil tests are $4.00 per sample, which is still a bargain. Stop by your local Cooperative Extension office or Country Farm & Home to get soil sample boxes and instructions on how to take a soil sample.

Potatoes prefer the following conditions:

  • pH: between 5.0 – 6.5; lower pH will minimize potato scab
  • Soil that has been prepared & amended with compost & Macronutrients (Phosphorus & Potassium) the following Fall
  • No actively decomposing green matter!
  • Do not plant into soil that has recently been in sod or pasture, within the last 3-12 months. Wire worms reside in sod & can ruin your crop with their feeding. Just wait until the grass is gone & you’ve worked the space with tillage to disrupt their life cycle.

Potatoes need to eat, too!
Potatoes will remove the following soil nutrients per 1,000 sq. ft. or per acre.

These numbers represent 100% pure N-P-K; keep in mind that when you look at soil amendments, the numbers you see represent the percent N, P, or K in that bag. For example, a 50# bag of (10-10-10) has 5# each of N-P-K; the remainder of the weight is comprised of materials that are not N, P or K.

You’ll need to replace these nutrients with amendments, mulches, compost or composted manure regularly. Monitor your soil health and fertility with regular soil testing and use the soil test recommendations to help you figure out what you need to add and in what quantity.

Further Investigations for the curious:
Follow this link for an explanation of soil macro and micronutrients, what they provide to the crop and how deficiencies exhibit themselves in the plant.

How much should I plant?

How much do you want to eat or sell? Start with a desired poundage and work backwards if space isn’t an issue or start with the space you have available and calculate how much seed you’ll need to purchase.

Here are the basic details so you can figure out how much you want to grow…

Seed Potato Weight:

1 ½ – 2 oz.
Small seed potatoes can be planted as-is
Larger seed potatoes need to be cut into several pieces

Number eyes per seed piece:

At least one, more is better
Plant seed with eyes facing up

1 pound seed plants 6’– 8’ bed

Plant Spacing:

8”-12” between standard varieties
12”-16” between fingerling varieties
Planting closer yields smaller potatoes
Planting further apart yields larger potatoes

Yield: 1:10 seed weight to pounds of crop harvested

If grown in well balanced soil, Potatoes will typically produce on a 1:10 ratio of pounds of seed planted to pounds of potato crop harvested. If your yields are higher, great job!! Your soil’s in great shape & the taters are thanking you with their abundance. If your yields are lower, it could be a varietal characteristic or an indication that something is out of balance in your soil. GET A SOIL TEST to help you figure out what’s deficient in your soil so you can amend for your next plantings.

How do you plant potatoes?

2-6 Weeks Before Planting:
Potatoes prefer soil that has been amended in the Fall with your amendment(s) of choice &/or compost. Some growers will cover crop spring potato beds with Canola/Rape, oats or barley_ something that will hold the soil over the winter but be easy to kill and incorporate before planting their potatoes. Other growers prefer to leave spring potato beds fallow and weed-free for ease of getting into the field as early as possible. Whatever bed preparation method you choose, potatoes DO NOT like to be next to actively decomposing green matter. Leave time between tillage and planting to allow green matter to break down; 2-6 weeks is a good time frame.

2 Weeks Before Planting:
In the southeast, we typically plant our potatoes in March. Consider waking up your potatoes in mid-February by green-sprouting them for several weeks before planting. Place whole seed potatoes one or two layers deep in a box then leave them in a warm_60-85 degrees_ dark place to encourage their eyes to pop. Be careful when handling them to avoid breaking off sprouted eyes.

Time to plant!! The day of:

Prepare Seed:
Seed potatoes that are 1 ½ – 2 oz. do not need to be cut. Seed over 2 oz. can be cut into smaller pieces; think the size &/or weight of an egg as your goal. Try to have at least 2 eyes per seed piece; one will do if that’s all you can find. You can cut the potato any which-way to achieve this. Avoid cutting eyes if you can when making your cuts. Some folks like to let seed pieces dry before planting. This isn’t necessary, but you can if you’d like. Once your seed pieces are cut, you’re ready to plant.

Prepare Soil:
Dig a trench in your bed about 4”-6” deep; triangle or standard hoes work well. Lay seed pieces eyes-up in the trench at 8”-12” for standard potato varieties and 12”-16” for fingerling varieties. You may wish to lay drip tape into the trench next to your seed potatoes to conserve water and to ensure that any water you put out gets to your crop and not your weeds. Cover seed (and drip tape, if used) with several inches of soil and tamp lightly….and you’re done!

Why do you hill potatoes?

Just about everyone knows you should hill potatoes, but does everyone know why?

Hilling potatoes produces the following benefits:

Weed Management:

In the southeast, potatoes are grown from March to May-July, depending on varietal days to maturity. Y’all know what else is growing March to July….WEEDS!! Oh, the weeds… You’ll have to manage those any way, you might as well go on and hill those taters in the process. Hilling uproots weeds as you pull the soil up around the potato plants.

Quality Control:

There’s a very important reason we keep potatoes in the dark. If potatoes are exposed to sunlight, they will start to photosynthesize and produce a green pigment under the skin. This ‘greening’ IS TOXIC to anything that eats it!! It’s a great strategy for the potato to avoid being eaten but not so great for us if we plan on harvesting an edible crop. Hilling potatoes ensures that forming tubers are fully covered with soil and are protected from the sun’s rays. With that in mind, if you see any potatoes at the soil line, be sure to cover them promptly to prevent greening.

Drainage:

Potatoes need water, but they don’t need to be sitting in a puddle. Depending on the weather and your soil type, we can provide the potato plants with better drainage by periodically pulling up soil around the growing stems. Heavy rains will run off into the aisles and away from the potatoes.

Yield Increase:

This is by far the most interesting bit on potatoes…

Potatoes form two types of stems; one for above-ground growth, on which we see leaves; one for below-ground growth, on which we find tubers. By covering growing leaf shoots with soil, we are creating more below-ground stem. Once a portion of the stem is buried with soil, it will produce the tuber-forming stems that will then form potatoes. Cool, huh? A bit sneaky on our part, but fascinating to observe. This is also why you may notice different sized potatoes on your plants at harvest; the longer the underground stem was under the ground translates to larger potato size and your preceding hilling activites. You can hill your potatoes 1-3 times per season/crop. Just loosen surrounding soil in the bed and pull up around the leaves and stems. Try to hill before the stems grow too long and start to flop over. You should pull between 2”-6” new soil up around the plants each time you hill. At a certain point, your hills can’t get any taller; stop hilling & let the plants do their thing until harvest.

How much water do potatoes need and when?

Potatoes need different amounts of water at different times in order to produce to the best of their ability. Generally, potatoes need between 1-2 inches of water per week; this could be provided by rain events or you to make up the difference.

Water needs for your crop throughout its life goes a little something like this…

  • Planting to 30 days: Water needs not high or critical
  • 30-60 days: Water critical for vegetative growth and early tuber formation
  • 60-90 days: Water critical for tuber bulking
  • 90-120 days: Tops begin to yellow and die back. Water needed but not excessively before harvest

How do you know when potatoes are ready to harvest?

Different varieties of potatoes have different Days To Maturity (DTM). It’s best to identify the variety you are growing and its DTM to give you an idea of when your crop will be ready to harvest. Count the days from planting to figure out target harvest dates per potato variety.

You can always dig around a bit to see how things are coming along. Generally, new potatoes will be present by day 60; they will be small and fragile. You can take a few if you just can’t wait any longer!! Most varieties will have good-sized tubers that are ready to harvest by 90 days.

In the Southeast, soils get too hot in the summer to grow great potatoes. Varieties with DTM beyond 120 days is not advisable. Shoot to have all your taters up by the end of July at the latest for best quality.

How do you harvest potatoes?

Dig, baby, dig!!

If you are growing on a small-scale, nothing is more rewarding than digging up your potato crop by hand. A digging fork or a broad fork work very well.

Start along the far edges of your bed so not to skewer your taters. Loosen soil around the mound and unearth your beauties.

Let potatoes dry off on the bed top for no more than 30 minutes or so before collecting them gently into boxes or bins. Skins will be fragile and easily damaged at this point.

Consider collecting your potatoes into the bins or boxes you intend to store them in to minimize the number of times you have to handle them. Also consider grading them in the field into various sizes before boxing them; smaller potatoes will dehydrate sooner than larger ones; having them graded makes it easy use the ones that will not hold very long first.

Store all potatoes in a cool dark place until you are ready to eat them or sell them. A light-free storage place is critical to keep potatoes from ‘greening’. DO NOT EAT green potatoes; they contain a toxin that is detrimental to the central nervous system. Any green potatoes should be discarded. No green? No problem.

How long will my harvest store?

Keep in mind that potatoes grown in the Southeast will likely be harvested before the scorching heat of summer and will not get a chance to cure in the ground. This means skins will be very fragile and the potatoes will not keep as long as those that are allowed to fully mature and cure in the ground. You can expect Southeastern crops to store 1-3 months, depending on variety, potato size and storage conditions. Past 3 months, potatoes may start to dehydrate and deteriorate in quality.

What’s eating my potato plants?!? & What can I do about it?

Pest management starts before the pests show up and continues long after the crop is harvested. Understanding what pests like, need and are attracted to will help you manage them in your garden or farm.

The general principles of pest management include:

  • Don’t give them what they need_ rotate crops so over-wintered adults will not emerge to find their favorite crop waiting for them
  • Scout!! 2 isn’t a problem; 2,000 is a problem. There’s a chance that beneficial insects will help you manage your insect pests, so don’t grab the big guns until you really need them.
  • Identify most vulnerable life stage(s) of pest to be most effective with treatment options_ egg, larvae, pupa, adult
  • Hand-collect or Crush_ Adults, eggs & larvae as much as is feasible while you are scouting to get a feel for whether or not you need to treat the crop.
  • Treat Crop with Appropriate Pesticide_ Choose the right product for the right pest. Be aware of inadvertent effects of using pesticides on other insect or animal populations. Target problem areas and apply just what’s needed to treat that space/crop.

For Potatoes, the most common insect pests are Colorado Potato Beetles & Click Beetles/Wire Worms.

Colorado Potato Beetles feed on potato foliage as larvae and can really do some damage on the upper parts of young potato plants, sometimes wiping out your planting if nothing is done to control them.
Organic control options include:

  • Hand pick adults & larvae; crush them, throw them into water to prevent them from flying away &/or feed them to chickens
  • Crush Eggs; check under-sides of leaves
  • Spinosad Products; if your CPB population gets out of control, Spinosad sprays are extremely effective at knocking back larval populations. Spinosad is a bacterium that affects insect’s nervous systems resulting ultimately in death.

Wire Worms & Click Beetles are one in the same; the wire worm is the juvenile stage of the adult Click Beetle. For some species of wire worms, it can take 5 years to become an adult click beetle! Wire worms feed underground on newly sprouted seeds and stems. Click beetles feed on pollen, nectar and other insects like aphids. Hummmm, this larval ‘pest’ has its merits as an adult. Let’s work with the wire worm. Highest concentrations of wire worms are found in sod or lawns. By avoiding planting potatoes into areas recently in sod, we can effectively avoid the wire worm’s negative effects on our crops. Just wait. It’s as easy as that!

VeggieHarvest

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Potato Growing and Harvest Information

Temperature
Germination 65-70F
For Growth 50-65 F
Soil and Water
Fertilizer Light feeder, apply compost when planting
Side-dressing Apply 2-3 weeks after first hilling
pH 5.0-6.0
Water Heavy when potatoes are forming
Measurements
Planting depth 3-4″
Root depth 18-24″
Height 23-30″
Width 24″
Space between plants
In beds 9-12″
In rows 10-12″
Space between rows 20-26″
Average plants per person 10-30
Harvest
For small “new” potatoes, harvest during blossoming; for varieties that don’t blossom, harvest about 10 weeks after planting. Harvest regular potatoes when the vines have died back halfway, about 17 weeks after planting. Gently pull or dig out tubers with a garden fork. If not large enough, pack the soil back and try again at 2-3 week intervals. If you have many plants, remove the entire plant when harvesting to make room for another crop. For storage potatoes, dig near the first frost when plant tops have died back. To minimize tuber injury, always dig when the soil is dry.
First Seed Starting Date 2-4 weeks before last frost date
Last Seed Starting Date 90-120 Days before first frost date
Companions
Companions All brassicas, corn, marigold, pigweed
Incompatibles cucumber, pea, pumpkin, raspberry, spinach, squash, sunflower, tomato

Where to Grow Potatoes

Potatoes grow best in regions where there is a temperate climate with cool growing weather, ample rainfall, and deep fertile soil. Potatoes are a warm-season crop in the North, tender to frost and light freezes, and a cool-season crop in the South and West.

Recommended Varieties of Potatoes

“Seed” potatoes that have been certified disease free are essential. Potatoes sold for eating are usually treated to prevent sprouting, and will not grow well if planted.
Early – Irish Cobbler; Chippewa; Norland (scab resistant); Pontaic (red-skinned)
Main – Green Mountain; Katahdin; Kennebec (blight resistant)
Baking – Russet, Burbank

Soil for Growing Potatoes

A deeply fertile sandy loam with a high acid content, pH 5-5.5 is best, since overly limed soils activate the scab fungus. The soil should be well drained and, at the same time, able to retain moisture. Other soils can be improved by incorporating organic matter which tends to lighten heavy soil and enrich sandy soil. Use high phosphorous fertilizers, such as 5-10-5, or 4-8-4, or ground-rock phosphate to prepare the soil.

If your soil is compacted, you’ll want to loosen it up with a shovel, broad fork, or rototiller. If turning in compost, ensure the compost is mixed in to a depth of about 6 to 8 inches. If digging with a shovel, don’t completely turn the soil over, simply dig one spot with the shovel buried 8-12 inches and toss it back in. the idea is not to destroy too many of the beneficial soil mircobes. If your soil is highly compacted, it will benefit from a good turning to a depth of approximately 12 inches, incorporating compost. The long term goal for potato soil is to have a loose living soil full of beneficial microbes.

When –

As soon as the frost is out of the ground and the soil can be worked thoroughly. The rule of thumb to follow for the earliest planting time is to plant 2 weeks before your last spring frost. You can plant any time after that, as long as there are 3 months of frost free growing season left.

How –

Start potatoes with seed potatoes, each containing one to three “eyes” or small indentations that sprout foliage. To prepare seed potatoes for planting: Spread the tubers out in boxes or crates one layer deep. Bring the boxes into a warm living space and to a location with medium intensity light. The warmth tends to stimulate the development of strong sprouts from the buds, which in the presence of light remain short and stubby and are not easily broken off. This process is called greening and presprouting and is usually done for a week or two just prior to planting outside to encourage growth and hasten the development of good tubers.

Tubers the size of a medium egg may be planted whole, cut larger tubers with a clean sharp knife so that each piece will contain 1 or more eyes. Pieces should be cut with plenty of flesh around the eyes, as the plant will utilize this stored food during the first few weeks of growth. Seed potatoes may be planted immediately after cutting if soil moisture is properly controlled; if there is a chance the soil will be too wet, allow the cut pieces to dry out a couple of days prior to planting, shriveling is to be avoided at all costs.

Place in shallow trenches 6″ wide, spaced 10-12″ apart, and cover with 3-4″ of soil. Space rows out approximately 20-26″ apart. The spacing can be adjusted to suit your conditions, wider spacing can help alleviate stress due to drought or poor soil. Tighter spacing tends to provide a uniform canopy of foliage to cool the soil in summer. One to two weeks after the shoots emerge, mound the soil around the base, leaving a few inches exposed. This “hilling” prevents greening. Side dress and “hill” again 2-3 weeks later. Hilling is crucial to establishing your crop, because all tubers will form at the same depth as the seed piece or higher. By gradually building an ever larger hill of soil around the plant, you are building the site for your potatoes to develop. Give them plenty of room between rows and build your hills wide and ample to maximize your potato harvest.

How Potatoes Grow

The plants, which are about 3′ high, send up long, pinnate leaves similar to tomato foliage. The tubers will develop in late summer, at the ends of underground stems. They are fairly close to the top 4-5 inches of soil.

Cultivating Potatoes

Keep weeds out of the potato patch with a very light cultivation, or use straw or leaf compost mulch. Gradually hoe soil toward the base of the potato plants, to prevent the roots from becoming sunburned. A second application of fertilizer is usually made 1 month after planting by side dressing in the row. Potatoes are almost 3/4 water, soil moisture is very important. Potatoes need about 1-2″ of water every week. Keep the soil evenly moist, and try not to let the soil completely dry out as this will cause sudden re-growth when watered, giving the tubers ears and noses, splits, or hollow heart. Let the water soak down to about 10-12″ each time. Cover plants if a hard frost is expected.

Storage Requirements
Spring or summer harvested potatoes aren’t usually stored, but keep for 4-5 months if cured first at 60-70F for at least 4 days and stored at 40F. Dry fall-harvested potatoes for 1-2 days on the ground, then cure at 50-60F and a relatively high humidity for 10-14 days. Don’t cure potatoes in the sun; they turn green. Once cured, store in total darkness in a single layer. Never layer or pile potatoes more than 6-8″ deep.
Fresh
Temperature Humidity Storage Life
55-60F 90-95% 5-10 months
Preserved
Method Taste Shelf Life
Canned fair 12+ months
Frozen good 8 months
Dried good 12+ months

Harvesting Potatoes

2 1/2 – 4 months. The first young potatoes can be lifted out carefully, a few at a time, by merely pulling soil away and replacing it for the remainder to develop. When the plants begin to dry and die down, the tubers will be ready. They can be left in the ground for a time, but should be dug before a heavy frost. Dig on a bright, sunny day so the soil dries off the potatoes easily.
Laboratory experiments have shown that several aromatic herbs and their essential oils can suppress sprouting of potatoes in storage and have antimicrobial activity against potato pathogens. English lavender, pennyroyal, spearmint, rosemary, and sage suppressed growth of potato sprouts, but oregano did not. English lavender was the most effective sprout inhibitor

Storage

For long term storage, keep potatoes in a cool (40 degrees F), dark place. Under the proper conditions, potatoes can last as long as 6 months. Light as well as warmth will promote sprouting and turn the potatoes green. Burlap sacks, netted sacks, slotted crates, or baskets are recommended for storing potatoes over winter. If your potatoes are stored at temperatures ranging from 33-40 degrees F, they will likely convert their starch into sugars, and will consequently taste slightly sweeter than normal. These potatoes will turn brown sooner when fried. You can take them out of storage and keep them in the warmth, but out of the light for a day or two and they will get some of their starch back. Storing potatoes at 50 degrees F will keep their starches intact. This is the ideal temperature if you want to fry the potatoes, make potato chips, or prefer the starchy taste. Ideally humidity should be relatively high (80-90%). Low humidity is the main cause of shriveling during storage. Refrigerator storage works well, especially if you have a crisper that maintains humidity levels. For the most part a refrigerator works hard at keeping the humidity levels down.

Potato Pests

  • Colorado potato beetle – A small yellow beetle with black lines down its back that produces one or two generations of havoc with potato crops. Control by handpicking.
  • Leafhopper – Causes foliage to go down early in the season, reducing yields. Potato leaf hoppers are fairly small, and difficult to see. It is important to catch them early. Scouting leaf undersides and axials is the best way to note their arrival and have time to treat before they build up. Organic pesticides are not particularly effective, but growers have had some success with combinations of neem extract and pyrethrins. Good foliage coverage is critical.

Potato Diseases

  • Blights and scabs – Grow resistant varieties and maintain proper pH (5-5.5).

Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide

Potatoes

Potatoes grow best in a long, cool season, which is rarely found in Illinois, but if recommended practices are followed, satisfactory yields can be obtained. The crop must be planted as early as the soil can be worked in the spring.

Always use certified seed potatoes, which are free of disease. Cut these potatoes into blocks weighing about 1½ ounces each. Make sure that each seed piece has at least one eye. Plant immediately.

Close spacing (30 inches between rows and 12 inches between plants) is recommended for early potatoes so that the plants will shade the soil and prevent excessively high soil temperature during the time the tubers develop. Mulching the potatoes with about 8 inches of loose straw when the plants are 6 inches high will also lower the soil temperature as well as control weeds, conserve moisture, and improve the keeping quality of the potatoes.

Many diseases and several insects cause trouble in potatoes. By using certified seed potatoes and resistant varieties, and by spraying or dusting at 10- to 14-day intervals with a recommended fungicide and insecticide, most insects and diseases can be controlled. Do not save your own seed.

Harvest the potatoes after the vines have died. Before storing, hold potatoes for a week or two at 65° to 70° F. in a place where the air is not too dry, to heal cuts and bruises. Then store them where the temperature will be 35° to 40° F. At lower temperatures potatoes will become sweet and at higher temperatures they will sprout. To prevent sprouting, treat potatoes after cuts are healed with one of the sprout inhibitors now on the market.

Crop Amount for 100
ft of row
Variety recommended for use in Illinois Days to harvest Resistant to
Potatoes (seed) 10-12 lb Early
Irish Cobbler 100
Norgold Russet 100
Norland 105 Scab
Superior 105
Midseason
Red Lasoda 110
Red Pontiac 110
Late
Katahdin 120 Verticillium wilt
Kennebec 120 Late blight
Vegetable Hardiness Recommended planting period for central Illinois (b) Time to grow from seed to field (c)
For overall
Use
For
storage
weeks
Potato Half-hardy Apr. 1-15
June 1-10
June 1
Vegetable Spacing in row
Seed to sow per foot Distance between plants when thinned or transplanted Distance between rows Planting depth
inches inches inches
Potato 1 10-12 24-36 4

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Are you interested in planting red potatoes? Or planting potatoes in general?

One of the most essential skills you need as a farmer or homesteader is growing plants for food. Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at growing vegetable and fruit crops. One thing that I have not tried previously was growing potatoes. Until now. This article explains to you how we planted our first potato crop. Hopefully in a few months I’ll be able to tell you about all of the loads of potatoes we harvested!

This post contains affiliate links. To view my affiliate disclaimer, click here.

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Our First Time Planting Red Potatoes

Potatoes are known for being a fairly easy crop to plant and produce large yields. I haven’t tried planting potatoes before, so this was new for me.

A few weeks ago, we were walking around First Monday. First Monday is a large outdoor flea market that is held once a month in Ripley, MS. It’s a great place to go and find homesteading or farming tools, plants, crops, antiques and small animals. As we walked past a large stand with fruit and vegetables, I noticed that there were several small baskets of baby red potatoes that had started to sprout.

They wanted $1 a basket for the small seed potatoes! I had three one dollar bills, so I got three baskets full of seed potatoes. When I got home and counted them, I had 126 seed potatoes. And they had all sprouted, all for $3.

These seed potatoes are sprouting like crazy! Quite a steal for $3!

As I haven’t planted potatoes before, I read up on it. Turns out there are a million ways to grow potatoes. Who knew??

If you want to grow and harvest potatoes the old fashioned way, Almanac.com has an article about planting, growing and harvesting potatoes just like your grandma used to do.

I thought about growing them in containers but I didn’t have enough containers to plant 126 seed potatoes in. That’s a lot of seed potatoes!

So I started looking in to planting red potatoes in the ground.

I found that potatoes need to be spaced roughly a foot apart in every direction, covered with at least one inch of soil, and then mulched quite frequently as the vines grow. Once the vines stop growing and die, the potatoes can be harvested.

I decided to plant the potatoes in the garden in an area that we tried to grow watermelons in. Last year, we had the largest, prettiest watermelon vines that were covered in tiny watermelons. As soon as they had softball sized melons on them, the deer found them and at the melons and vines in two days. I was so disappointed. So I decided I would try to plant the potatoes there. Maybe the deer won’t like potato plants as much as watermelon plants.

To buy seed potatoes to start planting your own potatoes, click here.

Preparing The Bed For Planting Red Potatoes

I tilled my garden up my entire garden and started working on planting red potatoes. I had a little help from Forrest and Dallas, which was nice. We got the potatoes planted and mulched in about 30 minutes.

Once the area was tilled, I used my boot and made trenches that the potatoes would be planted in.

Freshly tilled soil where the potatoes will be planted.

The trenches were spaced about a foot apart. In each trench, we lined up potatoes and the potatoes themselves were placed about a foot apart.

Potatoes in the trenches that we made. Pretend they are in perfectly straight lines. Haha!

Once the potatoes were in the ground, we mounded the dirt from either sides of the trenches to cover the potatoes. We used a garden spade with a measurement tool to make sure the potatoes were covered with at least one inch of soil.

Planting goes much faster when you have help!

Maintaining the Potato Plants

Potatoes need to be mulched frequently. People use many different types of mulch to cover their potatoes. I typically have pine shavings on hand because I get them free from a friend at one of our local sawmills. I used several bags of pine shavings to mulch my potato plants since we had some that had gotten wet. Better to use them as mulch than throw them out!

First few bags of pine shavings down for mulch over the potato trenches.

We covered the entire potato area with the shavings, and laid it down pretty thick. The shavings ended up being about eight inches thick. I read that this not only helps the potatoes from greening (which makes them poisonous), but it also chokes out any weeds that might grow. Plus, once you’re ready to harvest, you aren’t digging through a ton of soil, but rather just raking back mulch.

The pine shavings were laid down pretty heavily to completely cover the trenches and the spaces between the trenches.

I covered the trenches and the area in between the trenches with the mulch. I HATE weeding my garden, so maybe the thick mulch in between the trenches will help keep the weeds to a minimum.

Planting red potatoes isn’t complicated, especially when you have help!

So that’s how I got my first potato crop into the ground! I tilled, dug trenches, put potatoes in trenches and then covered them up with soil and shavings. Hopefully I’ll be able to come back and brag about the huge potato harvest in a few months that these potatoes are going to give us.

How do you grow potatoes? Do you have a favorite variety to plant? Do you plant in containers? Let me know!

Garden The Easy Way

Good day to you all, we hope you all are having a great day, this is Ken and Marilou with you today on Garden The Easy Way.
Today we would like to talk about Red Potatoes, they are one of the easier vegetables to grow and take care of. Growing potatoes is great for beginning gardeners, but we all should be growing potatoes, they are so good for us. Potatoes are America’s most popular vegetable, you can bake, boiled, fried, microwaved, roasted, steamed. They are quite low in calories and loaded with nutrients.
Today we would like to share with you all how to plant red potatoes, they are so easy to grow but there are some things you need to know.
1. Plant the whole potato or cut the eyes of the potato off 2 to 3 eyes is best, the cut should not be bigger than a chicken egg. If your cut has only one eye your vine will not produce as many potatoes, but the potatoes will be bigger potatoes, if your cut has 2 or 3 eyes your vine will have a lot more potatoes and they will be a smaller potato. So if you want huge giant potatoes plant your cut with only one eye. Important after cutting your potato eyes, lay them out to dry, do not pile them up lay them out side by side to dry 24 hours before planting.
2. Make your rows, use garden tiller deep 10 to 12 inches, pick out all the rocks and grass roots out, ( plant in full sun ).
3. Add 1 1/2 to 2 inches of aged manure ( cow or horse ), mix well with garden tiller. Money Saving Tip, if you go and see your local farmer he will probably give you all the manure you will need for ( Free ), Most farmers are so kind and willing to help out anyway they can, and they are glad to get rid of the manure, our local farmer will even go and get his tractor and load the manure for us, 3-big scoops with his tractor and we have a big pick-up load on the best all natural organic fertilizer money can buy for ( Free ). Go see your local farmer, don’t forget to ask for Aged Manure.
4. Add 2 1/2 to 3 inches of compost, mix well with garden tiller.
5. To make your row straight, drive a stake into the ground at both ends of your garden, and run a string from one stake to the other, that will tell you where your row will be.
6. Mound soil up with your garden rake, about 6 to 8 inches high on the sides, and 12 inches across the top. Make rows 24 inches apart.
7. Plant potato eyes, 2 to 3 inches deep, ( always plant with the eyes up ). Plant your row 10 to 12 inches apart, water well after planting.
8. Never let your soil dry completely out, gently add 2 inches of mulch on top after the vine is 3 to 4 inches tall. The mulch will help hold the moisture in, and will help to keep the weeds out.
9. Harvest new potatoes when the plants bloom. Wait until the leaves turn yellow and the plant starts to die back in the fall to harvest fully mature potatoes.
Things You’ll Need:
Sharp knife
Garden tiller
Compost
Fertilizer: Aged cow or horse manure
Shovel
Garden rake
Hoe
Pitchfork, to dig your potato with in the fall
Organic mulch
Well that’s it for today, here on Garden The Easy Way, we hope to talk here again tomorrow. Until then this is Ken & Marilou wishing you all Happy Gardening Always.

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