- Check out the 10 ways to grow potatoes whether you have a big backyard or you own a small balcony you will find here, at least, one idea that will interest you.
- 10 Ways to Grow Potatoes
- 1. Growing Potatoes in Bags
- 2. Growing Potatoes in Sacks
- 3. Growing Potatoes in Pots on the Balcony
- 4. Growing Potatoes in Buckets
- 5. Growing Potatoes in the Garden in Rows
- 6. Planting Potatoes in Straw
- 7. Potato Tower
- 8. Growing Potatoes in Cylinder
- 9. Growing Potatoes in Raised bed
- 10. Growing Potatoes in Tires
- Something Different- Tomtato
- Connect With Us!
- 1. Traditional Hilling
- 2. Straw Hilling
- 3. Straw-Bale Growing
- 4. Grow Bags and Other Containers
- 5. Potato Towers
- 6. Square-Foot Gardening
- Potato Planting Tips:
- April 1st
- May 1st
- May 15th
- Early June
- What You Need to Know About Growing Potatoes
- Before You Plant
- Potato Plant Care
- Growing Potatoes From Potatoes
- Growing Potatoes in a Pot
- Harvesting Potatoes
- How to Grow Potatoes
- Preventing Potato Blight
- How to Grow Potatoes: Complete Guide
- Caring for Your Potato Crop
- Pests and Diseases Affecting Your Potato Crop
- When to Harvest Your Potatoes
- Tips for Harvesting Your Potatoes
Check out the 10 ways to grow potatoes whether you have a big backyard or you own a small balcony you will find here, at least, one idea that will interest you.
There are actually many different ways to cultivate potatoes and you can choose one according to the available space and needs. If you don’t have a large vegetable garden you can grow potatoes in pots, in a bag or in a bin and if you have space you can plant potatoes in rows or in raised beds.
See our potato growing guide for containers
10 Ways to Grow Potatoes
Even those who have plenty of space in their gardens can also discover new potato planting ideas and tips from this post.
You can cultivate potatoes in grocery bags. The idea is very easy to imitate and is absolutely free.
To grow potatoes in grocery store bag, all you have to do is to fill the bag with the light nutrient rich soil, place your sprouted potatoes. You will have to add more soil as the plants grow.
The same procedure that is used for the bag, you can try to grow potatoes in the burlap sacks and trash bags. You can also grow gingers in a similar way. Read a tutorial here.
3. Growing Potatoes in Pots on the Balcony
Grow potatoes in pots is very simple. Just read our article.
Also Read: How to Grow Tomatoes in the Balcony
Potatoes are one of the vegetables that can be grown in almost anything. If you have a bucket or a trash can, just plant the potatoes. A 5-10 gallon bucket is ideal. Read a tutorial on Instructables.
The most classic method in our list of 10 ways to grow potatoes. If you have space then plant potatoes in your home garden arranging them in well-spaced rows. Space seed potatoes 8 to 12 inches within the row and 30 to 36 inches between the rows. The soil for growing potatoes must be light and free from debris, stones, and weeds.
Also Read: Using Grass Clippings in the Garden
You will be going to improve the cultivation of potatoes in the garden with ease, thanks to the mulching with straw. To know more about this, the two articles given below will help you.
Also Read: Planting Strawberries
- Mulching Potatoes with Straw
- Tips for Growing Potatoes in Straw
The tower of potatoes is a type of raised beds used for the cultivation that allows adding of new soil following the growth of the plants. This way you use the vertical space. When the surrounding soil is poor and polluted, the potato tower allows you to use rich and clean soil. To build the potato tower, you can use wood or other recycled materials.
8. Growing Potatoes in Cylinder
Here is a rather unusual but effective method to cultivate potatoes. It is about creating the cylinders in the garden. The soil is added gradually as the potatoes grow. It is a useful solution for areas with poor soil or the parts that affect from heavy rains, where the ground is likely to remain wet.
For this, take hardware cloth with ¼-inch mesh and make a cylinder that is about 24 inches high and 18 inches wide in diameter. Fill it with 5-6 inches of soil in the bottom and then plant 4 seed potatoes. Cover them with 4 inches of soil. Continue to add soil as the plants grow. At the time of harvest, lift up the cylinder and remove the soil to pick the potatoes.
9. Growing Potatoes in Raised bed
Image Credit: Examiner.com
Growing potatoes in the raised bed is the best way to increase the yield, fewer weeds and improved drainage are a few pros of this method. You can find out how to grow potatoes in raised beds here.
10. Growing Potatoes in Tires
If you are fancy bout growing potatoes in tires. Here’s an interesting article that you may like to read.
Something Different- Tomtato
TomTato is a very unusual solution in which you can grow potatoes and tomatoes together. Tomtato is the result of grafting of the grafting of a cherry tomato plant and white potato plant. To read more on this, read this article.
Also Read: Ideas to Use Tires in the Garden
Connect With Us!
PHOTO: Chiot’s Run/Flickr by Amy Grisak May 11, 2015
Potatoes are a favorite staple throughout the world. Originating in South America, this unique and important plant eventually found its way to North America and Europe, firmly planting itself as one of the most important crops ever produced.
Yet despite its storied history and its integral part in the rise of modern commercial agriculture, there isn’t one definitive way to grow them. From hilled rows in the garden to a pot on the patio, there’s more than one way to plant potatoes.
Deciding the best method to grow potatoes partly depends on understanding how they form. Unlike what many people believe, new potatoes grow above the seed potato along the stem, not underneath the seed. The mother tuber initially sends up shoots—as you see if your potatoes stay too long in the pantry—while creating a healthy root system. This vegetative stage is important because it determines the overall health of the plant.
The new tubers form along the stem below the soil. If you take a look at a potato plant when you pull it in the fall, you’ll see these swollen spots branching off along the stem. If you had an ideal season, they will all be good-sized potatoes, though it’s common to have a number of underdeveloped tubers.
When you’re planting potatoes, keep this process in mind so you can give your potatoes the optimum conditions for a bountiful harvest. Here are six different potato-planting methods to help you make your decision.
1. Traditional Hilling
Although this is probably the most labor-intensive planting and harvesting method, it’s a tried-and-true technique that hasn’t gone wrong for centuries. Till a trench 6 to 8 inches deep, place the seed potatoes 10 inches apart and cover them. As the plants grow, hill the soil a few inches around the base to ensure the potatoes that form along the stem are adequately covered. Do this more than once throughout the season, allowing the foliage to continue growing above the soil line.
2. Straw Hilling
This is a modified version of traditional trenching and hilling. Plant the potatoes 3 to 4 inches deep, but instead of hilling throughout the season, simply cover the plants with straw as they grow. Eventually the straw will be at least 1 foot deep.
The beauty of using straw is that is makes your potatoes very easy to harvest. For the most part, you just pull back the straw and pick up the potatoes. The major drawback is that if you don’t pile enough straw on top of the tubers, sunlight might reach them, causing sunburn and the subsequent green skin, which is inedible. In addition, in areas where mice are prevalent, you might lose some to the rodents.
3. Straw-Bale Growing
Another option using straw is employing the straw-bale gardening method. “It’s just so easy and so productive,” says Joel Karsten, a straw-bale gardening guru in Minnesota. “Once the bale is conditioned, it’s as simple as making three holes in the bales.”
Karsten says to make the holes nearly to the bottom of the bale, roughly 18 inches deep. Place your seed potato, sprout end up, in the bottom of this tunnel. “It grows up and out of the hole,” he says. When it reaches the top of the bale, simply push the straw around the stem. To harvest, once the plant has died, cut the strings and the potatoes fall out.
One benefit of straw-bale gardening is that you can plant sooner than in the soil. The potatoes grow well in the straw, which becomes very loose as it breaks down throughout the summer. The one consideration is you don’t want to cut corners on the early conditioning process: It needs to be done properly for the system to work its best.
4. Grow Bags and Other Containers
You don’t have to have a large garden to grow potatoes. They do equally well in containers, including the fabric containers often referred to as “grow bags.” The heavy landscape-fabric containers work well because you don’t risk overwatering, as you do with a solid pot.
If you don’t wish to purchase a grow bag, you can use anything from a large, decorative container to a 5-gallon bucket. Marcia Bundi, a level-3 Master Gardener, reminds gardeners to make holes in the bottom of any solid container to allow for drainage.
“You need a couple of inches of good garden soil in the bottom,” she says. Place one to three seed potatoes, depending on the size of the container. A 5-gallon bucket might only take two pieces, while a container 24 inches in diameter could easily accommodate three.
Cover the pieces with 4 to 5 inches of soil, and as they continue to grow, add soil until the stems are covered up to 18 inches deep.
“It doesn’t do any good to cover up that foliage stem,” Bundi notes. “You want the foliage because that’s the energy factory.”
She says to water the potatoes daily to provide consistent moisture, and fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer. To harvest, simply dump out the potatoes, or reach into the container to gather the new tubers.
5. Potato Towers
These wooden structures are a combination of a raised bed and container. Using wooden slats to make up the sides, you increase the height of the walls as the potatoes grow. They are typically 2-by-2 feet and roughly the same height.
Place a couple of the slats on the walls, and fill the bottom with 3 to 4 inches of garden soil. Place three seed potatoes on the soil, and cover with a few inches of soil. As the potatoes grow, add more boards to the sides and soil to stay within a couple of inches of the foliage top. Some people even add another layer of potatoes. You can do this until the bottom potatoes are under 18 inches of soil.
Keep the tower fertilized and watered throughout the season. To harvest early, unscrew a bottom board and rob a few potatoes. To harvest at the end of the season, just take apart the walls.
The drawback to this method is the cost of the boards (unless you can use recycled materials), as well as the amount of soil you’ll need.
6. Square-Foot Gardening
If you’re looking for a way to grow without much space, soil or effort, the Square-Foot Gardening method, developed by author and retired civil engineer Mel Bartholomew nearly 40 years ago, fits the bill. In a typical SFG bed, 6-inch-wide boards are used to create a 4-by-4-foot box filled with a mix of equal parts of vermiculite, peat moss and compost. The bed is then divided into 12-inch blocks.
“Potatoes and large carrots are the only exception to the 6 inches of soil we use,” says Belinda Jensen, head of operations at SquareFootGardening.com, who loves to grow her favorite staple using this technique. To plant potatoes in the bed, she utilizes a 12-inch-tall “top hat” placed on top of the 12-inch squares to extend the growing space.
“You can place four seed potatoes in a 12-inch square,” Jensen says. “You can add another top hat, if you want. And once you see the sprouting, add more soil.”
To harvest, you simply remove the top-hat extensions and gather the potatoes.
With dozens of potato varieties, there’s nothing like growing your own. Fortunately, with so many different ways to raise a bountiful crop, anyone can enjoy their favorites.
Vegetable Gardening has become quite popular in recent years. Here’s a time line for central Indiana for planting your vegetables:
The earliest things you can plant in the garden.
Peas: Plant seeds. There are several new good bush varieties or you will need some sort of trellis or stake for any vining variety. Harvest mid-May.
Potatoes: Plant seed potatoes.
Potato Planting Tips:
Put straw down on top of your ridge of soil.
Cut your seed potatoes so you have at least 3 eyes on each part of the potato.
Lay your cut seed potatoes about 6-8in apart on top of the straw.
Cover the potatoes with straw.
Mound more soil on top of the straw.
Wait for the potatoes plants to grow. The straw will help you have lots cleaner potatoes when you harvest them and should help to keep them from rotting.
These crops can take cold weather…in fact they prefer it. Some things will not grow when it gets hot in the summer.
Onions: plant onion sets or onion plants about 18″ apart. Harvest end of July or you can pull a few in May for some green onions.
Broccoli: plant baby plants about 18″ apart. Harvest first part of June.
Cabbage: plant baby plants about 18″ apart. Harvest June.
Cauliflower: plant baby plants about 18″ apart. Harvest first part of June.
Radishes: plant seeds. Harvest late May.
Kohrabi: plant seeds. Harvest late June.
Turnips: plant seeds. Harvest mid-June.
Lettuce & Spinach: plant seeds and then go back and thin out baby seedlings so they are about 6″ apart.
Asparagus: plant perennial plants.
Rhubarb: plant perennial plant.
Brussels Sprouts: plant baby plants.
Strawberries: plant plants about 18″ apart with 3′ feet between rows. Ever bearing varieties will produce fruit in the spring and fall of the year. June bearing produce one big crop around the first part of June. Plants typically live for around three years.
Sweet Corn: plant an early variety such as Early Sunsation around May 1st. Plant in several short rows to promote pollination. Best to grow in block of three rows. Later varieties such as Kandy Corn and Silver Queen should be planted around May 15th. You can expect to get some early harvest in mid-July and late harvest around August 1st.
These crops like it warm at night. They cannot handle frost. Best to wait until Mid-May.
Tomatoes (plant baby plants about 2′ apart. Use a cage or stake if the variety recommends it. This year’s tomato varieties. See below for more information on growing tomatoes.
Eggplant: plant baby plants. Harvest end of July.
Peppers: plant baby plants about 18″ apart. Harvest end of July.
Green Beans: plant seeds in rows. Blue Lake Bush beans are a very popular bush variety. Pole beans will need to be staked.
Zucchini and Summer Squash: plant baby plants..expect a harvest mid-June.
Melons: plant baby plants. Very susceptible to cold…wait until its very warm at night. Expect harvest in early August.
Cucumbers: plant baby plants. Expect harvest in July.
Pumpkins: plant seeds. Expect harvest for Halloween.
Winter Squash: plants seeds. Expect harvest in fall.
One of my very favorite foods to plant is potatoes. You put a hunk of potato into the ground….then, it grows into a plant…which produces several brand new potatoes. When it’s time to dig up potatoes in the fall…it’s like Christmas time! I LOVE it!!
Here are some Potato Planting Basics:
- Purchase seed potatoes (I got mine at a grocery store). Find seed potatoes with lots of “eyes” if you can.
- Keep in mind that the “russet” or “kennebec” potato will store the best…so if you’re planting enough potatoes to store for a few months, you’ll want this kind. Red and Yukon Gold don’t store quite as well (oh but they sure are yummy!).
- Cut your seed potatoes into hunks. Each hunk needs to have at least one good “eye” (see the one in the picture below?). That’s what your new potato plant will grow from.
Be sure not to cut your potato hunks too small. They need to have enough potato on them to provide nourishment for the plant as it starts to grow.
It’s a good idea to cut your potatoes a few days before they are planted so that they can “cure”. This helps to prevent rotting under the ground once they are planted. However, most years I don’t know that I’ll be planting until the day I plant! Cutting the potatoes right before you plant them won’t hurt anything!
Place your potato hunks in the ground with the “eye” facing upward. They need to be about one foot apart. To make this easier for my kids, I usually break a stick into a piece one foot long. They lay down a potato…then lay down the stick…then lay down another potato at the end of the stick. It’s a great way for them to measure the distance and avoid putting the potatoes too close together.
Your rows should be about two feet apart. Cover your seed potatoes with about 3-4 inches of soil.
Once you’ve got your potatoes planted, give them a nice drink of water. Then, leave them alone for a few days. It isn’t neccessary to give them much water for the first several weeks. After a week or so, you’ll see some nice sturdy plants coming up out of the ground (at which point, you’ll do a happy little potato dance!).
- Once the plants are about eight inches tall, pull the soil up around each of them and kind of pack it in around the base of the plant.
- When your potato plant begins to flower, you’ll know that there are now some new potatoes growing under the ground (and you’ll do another happy little potato dance!). At this point, your potato plants need plenty of water. Big fat potatoes can grow bigger and fatter with lots of water.
- All summer long, be sure that the soil is pulled up high around the base of your plant. You don’t want any growing potatoes to start popping up out of the soil. They’ll turn green….and you don’t want green potatoes.
- You can begin to “steal” little new potatoes from your plants anytime after they flower. But, if you leave them there and continue to water them well, they’ll grow into baked potatoes and french fries and bowls of mashed potatoes. Really, it’s true.
And may I just say….you haven’t eaten a potato until you’ve eaten a fresh potato right out of the ground!!!
I will also be planting some “containers” of potatoes this year since I don’t have enough garden space to plant enough potatoes to last us the entire winter. Soon, I’ll share that technique with you….and maybe all of you who don’t have big garden spaces will want to play along with me. Start looking out for big garbage containers!!
A couple more things…I live in the midwest and I haven’t actually planted my potatoes yet. (I took the above pictures last year when we were planting.) You’re safe to plant potatoes a few weeks before the last freeze…so for me that means I can plant them pretty soon. We just haven’t had a chance to get our garden ready for planting yet, what with all the SNOW THAT HAS FORGOTTEN TO REMEMBER THAT SPRING IS HERE. Really, I do love living in Nebraska.
Are you planting potatoes this year? Interested in learning more about planting potatoes in a container? Have any more potato planting tips for us?
This post is linked to Works for me Wednesday.
What You Need to Know About Growing Potatoes
Potatoes are easily the most versatile vegetable around, proven by their abilities to be mashed, fried, baked, boiled, hashed and more. You name it, a potato can do it. So, why not skip the produce section and grow these resourceful vegetables in your own yard? All you need is a sunny space to grow, a steady supply of water, and seed potatoes—yes, you heard that right. You can grow potatoes from potatoes! Take your pick from russet, Yukon, fingerling, and more varieties and get your potato patch started.
Before You Plant
Potatoes love the sun, so plant your potato patch in a spot with full sun for the best results. Potatoes are planted with pieces of tubers called seed potatoes. Plant seed potatoes in spring around the time of last expected frost.
Small potatoes can be planted whole, but larger potatoes (bigger than a golf ball) should be quartered with a clean knife before planting. Make sure each piece includes an eye or bud. To prevent rot, let the pieces dry for a couple of days before planting. Plant the seed potatoes a few inches deep in loose, well-drained soil and spaced 12-15 inches in rows.
Potato Plant Care
After planting, potatoes will start flowering and forming tubers. Once tubers are formed, your potatoes will need to be heavily watered to grow properly. If the foliage turns yellow and begins to die back, discontinue watering to prepare for harvest time.
In a few weeks, the shoots will emerge from the soil. Once the shoots are 8–10 inches tall, mound several inches of soil around the stem. This is called “earthing up” or “hilling,” and it helps produce a bigger potato crop.
Growing Potatoes From Potatoes
It’s best to grow potatoes (Solanum) from specially grown seed potatoes from a garden supply store that is certified disease-free. The potatoes you purchase in the grocery store may have been treated with a sprout inhibitor to prevent them from sprouting in your pantry. However, if you have some potatoes that are beginning to sprout (the “eyes” have swollen, whitish shoots beginning to develop), simply plant a piece of the sprouting potato in the ground or in a roomy pot covered with 3 inches of soil. Within 2 weeks, green shoots should emerge. These will grow into bushy plants, and after 3 months or so, new spuds will develop below ground.
Growing Potatoes in a Pot
If you don’t have the space to grow potatoes in your yard, you can grow them on your deck or patio. Start with a large, deep pot with ample drainage. Fill one-third of the container with potting soil, then place your seed potatoes in the pot. Cover with a layer of potting soil. Keep the pot in the sun and well-watered. Hill the potted potatoes when they show about 6 inches of growth and repeat until the pot is full.
Potatoes are ready to harvest when the plants begin to turn yellow and die back, typically 18-20 weeks after planting. Most potatoes sprout quickly in spring when kept at room temperature, but the type of potato makes a difference if you want to harvest good tubers.
The small red potatoes often sold as “new” potatoes are fast and fun to grow. Large baking potato plants take much longer to mature and often produce poorly in areas where hot summer weather prevails.
If you want to eat your potatoes fresh, only dig up what you want for immediate eating. If you plan on storing your potatoes, do not dig them up until 2-3 weeks after the foliage dies back. Dig potatoes up with a spading fork, being careful not to pierce the tubers. Leave the potatoes on the ground for a few hours to dry and cure. Brush off loose soil and store in a cool dry place until you’re ready to use them.
Related: Top-Notch Potato Side Dish Recipes
How to Grow Potatoes
- By BH&G Garden Editors
7 steps for planting, harvesting and storing potatoes at home By Kevin Lee Jacobs
Photo by: Kevin Lee Jacobs.
Potatoes are generous plants. They are easy to grow and produce abundant harvests. Give them the following and they will accept almost any planting situation:
- Full sun
- Loose, fertile soil
- 1” of water per week
You can grow potatoes in a plastic bucket, a plastic trash can, or a special “grow bag”. But in my experience, containers like these require constant attention to watering, and yield only tiny harvests. A better plan is to grow your crop in a raised bed.
RELATED: How to build your own raised bed
I achieve an enormous harvest—enough to feed two for nearly a year—by planting potatoes in two 4′-x-8′ raised beds. The tubers are wildly productive in the well-draining, rock-free soil the beds provide, and the vines require deep watering only once each week.
Of all the root vegetables I grow, it is the potatoes that give me the biggest thrill at harvest time. I love to stick my hands in the soil and retrieve the buried bounty, with a yield of eight to ten potatoes for every one that I plant.
However you decide to grow your potatoes, the planting directions are the same.
Photo by: Kevin Lee Jacobs.
Step 1: Choose Seed Potatoes
Start with organic, certified disease-free seed potatoes obtained from a catalog or farm store. (Supermarket potatoes that have been treated with a sprout-retardant are not suitable for planting.) If you buy from a farm store, as I do, try to select tubers which have already sprouted. Otherwise, pre-sprout them by simply laying them out on your kitchen counter. Pre-sprouted potatoes can be harvested a few weeks earlier than their non-sprouted kin.
Photo by: Kevin Lee Jacobs.
Step 2: Separate the Eyes
Only small, golf ball-sized potatoes should be planted whole.
Cut large tubers into pieces. I cut mine so that each segment has two or three “eyes” (the little bumps from which sprouts emerge, as shown in the photo). The reason for cutting the potatoes is because the many eyes on a large potato will create a crowded, multi-stemmed plant, with each stem competing for food and moisture, and in the end, bearing only small potatoes.
Photo by: Kevin Lee Jacobs.
Step 3: Cure the Cut Pieces
Next, “cure” the cut pieces. Either set them out in the sun, or place them on a table or counter in a warm (about 70°F), moderately lit room for three to five days. This step permits the cuts to become calloused. Calloused seed potatoes will help prevent rot.
Photo by: Kevin Lee Jacobs.
Step 4: Plant Your Potatoes
Plant each potato segment cut-side down (eyes up) in a 6-inch-deep hole or trench. Space each segment 12-inches apart on all sides.
Between each segment, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous fertilizer. Then cover both potatoes and fertilizer with 2-inches of soil, and water the soil well.
When should you plant potatoes? This will vary depending on where you live. Gardeners in warm climates often plant around Valentine’s Day, while those in cooler areas may get them into the ground near Easter. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 3-4 weeks prior to your last frost date.
Photo by: Kevin Lee Jacobs.
Step 5: Hill Around the Stems
Because new potatoes form on lateral stems, or “stolons” above the seed potato, it’s necessary to “hill” the vines. When the green sprouts achieve 8 inches in height, bury all but their top 4 inches with soil, chopped straw, or shredded leaves. Hill again when vines grow another 8 inches. The more you hill, the more prolific your harvest is likely to be. I usually hill mine to a height of 18 inches. Stop hilling when the vines flower.
Potato tubers, like vampires, need to live in darkness. In fact, they will turn green if exposed to light. And a green potato can cause sickness if consumed. Therefore it is absolutely essential to keep the tubers covered with soil or mulch.
Photo by: Kevin Lee Jacobs.
Step 6: Harvest Your Potatoes
Two weeks after the vines have flowered, you can, if you wish, reach into the soil or mulch and retrieve a few baby potatoes. Otherwise, wait until the vines die back. Dead vines signal that the tubers have reached maturity. Now reach into the soil with your hands and pull the tubers up.
How long do potatoes take to grow? Small new potatoes can be ready as early as ten weeks. However, full sized potatoes take about 80-100 days to reach maturity.
Photo by: Kevin Lee Jacobs.
Step 7: Store Your Potatoes
Since my potatoes are grown for storage, I leave them in the ground until cool weather arrives. Why? Because potatoes will only store well if they are placed somewhere cold, but not freezing. The closet in my mudroom doesn’t cool off until the outside temperatures plunges to 45° at night. So harvest time for me is usually a sunny day in late October.
After digging the tubers, I let them sit on top of the raised beds for a few hours to dry, as illustrated. This brief drying-period toughens their skin, and prepares them for storage. Then I gently brush off any loose soil from the tubers, and place them in double thicknesses of paper bags.
More potato growing tips:
- If you don’t want to bother with hilling, plant your potatoes 8-9 inches deep. The downsides are: the potatoes take longer to sprout and your harvest might be smaller.
- Potatoes like slightly acidic soil (5.8-6.5 pH). Add fertilizer or composted manure for best results.
- When growing potatoes in containers a good soil recipe is 1 part peat moss, 1 part organic potting soil and 1 part cow manure.
- If you want to make the task of weeding easier (and you have the space), plant your potatoes at least two feet apart so that you can weed around them easily.
Preventing Potato Blight
The dreaded fungal disease known as the “potato blight” (Phytophthora infestans) was responsible for the Irish potato famine and can destroy your entire crop, too. To reduce the chance of infection, never plant potatoes (or tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family, such as eggplants or chili peppers) in the same patch of land without leaving an interval of at least three years. Also, promptly remove any volunteer potatoes that emerge in your garden. The disease overwinters in tubers left behind during the previous year’s harvest.
How to Grow Tomatoes
How to Grow Potatoes: Complete Guide
Potato Grow Bags Available on Amazon
However, if you want to do things the old-fashioned way, then growing in the ground will always give you a good crop. Dig a trench in your garden to make a bed. Move the soil to form a channel that’s 6-inches wide and 8-inches deep, and taper the bottom to around 3-inches in width.
Grow your potatoes in rows, and space them at 3-feet apart. Spread some rotting compost or cured manure into the trench to add nutrients to the ground. In your channel, plant a seed potato piece, with the cut side down, every 10 to 12-inches apart, and then cover it with 3 to 4-inches of compost and soil.
The best potato starters are seeded potatoes with protruding eyes. It’s essential that you don’t confuse seed potatoes with those that you get from your local grocery store.
Grow your potatoes in rows
Caring for Your Potato Crop
It’s essential to keep building soil over your potato plant as it grows. If the tubers have any exposure to the sun, they start to turn a green color. These potatoes taste bitter and become hard.
Potatoes like plenty of water, and they prefer and even and consistent approach to watering. Leaving your potato crop without water for a few days on end every few weeks will result in green and hard potatoes.
We recommend you give your potato plants at least 1 to 2-inches of water throughout the week.
You’ll need to start to increase your watering slightly when the tubers begin to form. When the summer sun gets hot, the potato plant may start to droop. You can support the plant and keep the leaves off of the floor using a trellis.
Hilling also supports your potato plant and prevents your tubers from sustaining a sunburn. Potatoes that turn green produce a toxic substance called solanine that gives the potatoes a bitter taste. If you eat green potatoes, you could end up with an upset tummy.
You can buy Potato Fertilizer from Amazon also
Pests and Diseases Affecting Your Potato Crop
There are a few pests and diseases that affect your potato crop. Here is what you need to look out for during the growing season.
Potatoes grown in soil with a pH above 5.5, will start to develop a condition known as “potato scab.”
Smart gardeners will dust their potato seeds with sulfur before planting. This strategy ensures that no fungi or bacteria attack the potato seed in its juvenile state. Sulfur eradicates mold and other fungi, protecting the plant’s root system.
After planting and hilling, you can add a layer of pine straw for additional anti-microbial protection. Pine leaves have a natural polyphenol antioxidant that acts as a pest repellant and anti-fungal.
One of the biggest problems with managing potato crops is the Colorado potato beetle. You’ll have to check your crop for these beetles every day and pick them off by hand. Some gardeners can try controlling the spread of potato beetles using
Colorado potato beetles need to be hand-picked, and predatory birds will often eat them with Diatomaceous Earth while they are still in the lymph state. If you decide to go with an organic pesticide, make sure you spray in the early morn8ing or late afternoon to avoid harming beneficial insects visiting the garden, such as pollinators.
Aphids and flea beetles also present something of a problem to gardeners in the warmer states. If you live in an area that gets cold and rainy for extended periods, periodically check your plants for mold or mildew and early or late-stage blight.
Potatoes that receive infection with blight require removal. Throw them out with the trash, and don’t add them to your compost heap. The pathogen survives out of the soil and in the ground for months.
You’ll have to learn the art of crop rotation if you want to grow potatoes. Rotating your potato crop ensures that the ground, and the roots of your potato plants, stay healthy.
When to Harvest Your Potatoes
If you want “new potatoes,” which are smaller, around the size of a golf ball, with thinner skin, then harvest your potato crop 2-weeks after the plants stop flowering. You’ll need to eat the new potatoes within a few days after harvest.
For harvesting mature potatoes, we recommend you wait until 3-weeks after the plant’s foliage dies back. It’s critical that you let the tops of the vines die before harvesting your potato plant. Cut back the browning foliage all the way to the soil, and wait another 2-weeks to allow the skin of the potatoes to thicken.
Don’t wait longer than 3-weeks to harvest, or your potatoes might start rotting in the ground. If you want to store your potatoes for use throughout the winter, harden them by minimizing watering after mid-August.
Tips for Harvesting Your Potatoes
Dig up your potato plants on a hot, dry day. Make sure you dig around the base of the plant in a 2-foot diameter to avoid damaging the tubers. Scarred potatoes will rot during storage, and you’ll need to use them within a few days.
During the season, the growth of the tubers, along with your hilling, should make it easy to gig them out of the ground. If you have to dig your potatoes up on a damp or wet day, then make sure you dry them as much as possible before storage. Storing soggy potatoes will end up causing your entire crop to rot in your root cellar.
Don’t leave the potatoes in the sun after digging them up, as they’ll turn green and hard in a few hours. Green potatoes taste bitter and hard, and you might get a case of vomiting or diarrhea, as well.
Trim off the small spots, but throw out the potato if there is excessive greening. Allow your potatoes to sit in a root cellar in dry and cool conditions for up to 2-weeks after harvest. This strategy gives the potatoes time to cure and improves the flavor of the tubers.
After you finish with the curing cycle, brush off any excess dirt using a light brush, and then store your potatoes in a root cellar for up to a month. The root cellar should have an average temperature between 40 and 50F. Make sure the root cellar has plenty of ventilation and good airflow throughout the storage space to prevent rot.
As a tip, never store potatoes with apples. The apples release a gas that causes your potatoes to rot. Avoid storing your potatoes in the fridge, as they’ll turn soft. Only wash your potatoes right before you eat them for the best results in your recipes.
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